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V \^^ \ \ ^ 

JOURNAL , (Ji^t 

Uo "'^v ,,-^V 

OF THE X- ^ 

Ainerican Society for Psychical Researcli 



AmericaD iDStitiite for Scientific Researcli 

Volume I 

519 West 149th St. 


1 ,^ v) 1! (^ ^ 



Dr. Richard Hodgson. By James H. Hyslop 2 

The Fay Performances. By James H. Hyslop 40 

Visions of the Dying. By James H. Hyslop 45 

Letter of Dr. Pierre Janet 73 

Experiments with Mr. Piper since Dr. Hodgson's Death. By James H. 

Hyslop 93 

Further Experiments Relating to Dr. Hodgson since his Death. By 

James H. Hyslop 125 

Conclusion of Experiments Relating to Dr. Hodgson: Theories. By 

James H. Hyslop 183 

Spirit Slate-Writing and Billet Tests. By David P. Abbott. 1 148 

11 244 

HI 413 

IV 513 

Hypothesis Concerning Soul Substance; Together with Experimental 

Evidence of Such Substance. By Duncan MacDougaM, M. D... 237 

On Dr. MacDougall's Experiments. By Hereward Carrington 276 

Some Instances of Subconscious Creative Imagination. By Miss Frank 

Miller 287 

Introduction. By Prof. Th. Flournoy 288 

Phenomena of Passing Suggestion or of Instantaneous Auto-Sug- 

gestion 293 

Telepathy. By James H. Hyslop 308 

Omar Khayyam and Psychical Research. By Hereward Carrington 351 

Philosophy, Psychology and Psychical Research. By James H. Hyslop. . . 371 

A Remarkable Mediumistic Experience. By Dr. J. F. Babcock 382 

Soul and Body. By J. Arthur Hill 403 

Human Personality. By Hartley B. Alexander. 1 443 

II 547 

Dr. Mackay on the Immortality of the Soul. By James H. Hyslop.. 459 

The Physical Phenomena of Spiritualism. By Frank Podmore 495 

Statement of Sir William Crookes 502 

Identification of Personality. By James H. Hyslop 505 

On the Influence Upon the Communicator's Mind of Objects Presented to 

the Medium. By Hereward Carrington 536 

Some Features in Mediumistic Phenomena. By James H. Hyslop 564 



Dissolution of the American Branch i 

Objects of the Institute 15 

Needs of the Institute 28 

Prospectus 32 

Editorials 35, 108, 161, 229, 255, 328, 357, 394, 427, 479, 522, 590 

Incidents 39, 114, 165, 261, 358, 431, 486, 528, 591 

Book Reviews 59, 117, 174, 283, 347, 397, 492, 542, 611 

Treasurer's Reports 121, 235, 400, 545 

Correspondence 263, 340, 370, 440, 491, 536, 602 

Additional Members 61, 122, 180, 236, 285, 349, 401, 493, 546, 613 

Errata 613 

Vol. I.— No. I. January, 1907. 



AinericaD Society for Psychical Research 


GsscBRAL Articlbs: paob 

Dianlntkm of the American Branch, - 1 

Dr. Richaxd HodfBon, .... 2 

Objects of the Institute. .... 15 

Needs of the Institute. .... 9 

Prospectos. 33 


Notes, 35 

Bzplanation of Terms, - - - - 36 


The American and London Societies. - 36 

The Fay Performances, .... 40 

Visions of the Dyinff. .... 45 

A Visual Experience, - - - - 55 

Cases of Amnesia - 57 

Paeudo^lalrvoyanoe, - • - - 58 

Book Rbvibws, 59 

List of Mbmbbks .... 61 

It will be a sufficient explanation of the reasons for the 
organization of an American Society to publish the official 
document which announced the dissolution of the American 
Branch. This is found below as published in the " Journal " 
of the London Society. 


The following document was signed by three Vice-Presi- 
dents of the Society for Psychical Research at a meeting in 
Boston last May, at which it was resolved to dissolve the 
American Branch of the London Society: 

American Branch of The Society for Psychical Research. 

After full and anxious consideration it has been decided to 
dissolve the American Branch of the Society for Psychical 
Research at the end of the current year. 

It is hoped that a scheme, upon which Professor Hyslop 
has been for some time past engaged, may result in the 
formation of an independent organization which will carry 
on the work of psychical research in America. 

The records of sporadic phenomena now accumulated at 
the office of the Branch will be carefully gone through, and a 
selection from them will be published in the " Journal." 

2 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

The Piper records, and all documents appertaining there- 
to, will remain in the charge of the Council of the Society; 
and, as promptly as the labor involved in the study of their 
voluminous and complicated contents will allow, a full report 
on the later developments of the Piper case up to the date of 
Dr. Hodgson's death will be issued in the " Proceedings." 

After publication the Council of the Society will allow 
qualified and serious students access to the records ; but only 
on terms which will ensure that all private and intimate 
matter contained in them shall be handled with proper dis- 
cretion and reserve, and that all confidences shall be 
Signed on behalf of the American Branch 


JAMES H. HYSLOP, V Vice-Presidents. 


Signed on behalf of the Council of the Society for Psychical 

S Boylston Place, Boston, Massachusetts, May i8, 1906. 


Psychic research has suffered an irreparable loss in the 
death of Dr. Richard Hodgson, and it is fitting in the re- 
organization of this work in this country that his unusual 
gifts in connection with the past work of this kind should 
receive some memorial notice. He had devoted his life and 
abilities to the solution of one of the world's largest problems 
and for this task he was possessed of exceptional qualities of 
mind and heart, developed under the most favorable 
influences. His place in the work can be appreciated only by 
a brief account of his life. ♦ 

Richard Hodgson was born in 1855 in Melbourne, Aus- 
tralia, and received his early education in the public schools 
of that place. He afterwards entered the University of Mel- 
bourne and took there the degrees of M. A. and LL. D. 

It was his original intention to study law and this course 

Dr. Richard Hodgson. 

was followed for a time. But during his legal studies he gave 
some attention to science and philosophy, and finally resolved 
to devote his attention exclusively to these fields. In the 
meantime he early became interested in the occult, owing to 
certain incidents which he told only to certain intimate 
friends, and it seems that a symposium in one of the British 
monthly magazines stimulated him to make this matter a 
subject of his inquiries. 

After completing his law studies at Melbourne, he went 
to the University of Cambridge, England, and there 
graduated in the mental and moral sciences. The teacher 
from whom he learned most, according to his own state- 
ments, both in personal instruction and lectures, was Pro- 
fessor Henry Sidgwick, Professor of Moral Philosophy in 
Cambridge, and President of the Society for Psychical 
Research. In philosophy he had also learned much from the 
study of Herbert Spencer and was to a considerable extent 
influenced by that writer's doctrines, tho he afterward 
imbibed enough of an idealistic philosophy to eliminate the 
materialistic tendencies of that author. On the subject of 
Spencer he at one time engaged in a controversy with 
Thomas Hill Green, of Oxford. 

After the completion of his Cambridge course, he spent 
six months in Jena, Germany, attending the university there, 
and soon after his return to England he lectured for six 
months at different towns in the north of England in con- 
nection with University Extension. His subjects were 
scientific and literary, being " The Development of Poetry 
Since 1789," and " The Mind and the Senses." 

An undergraduate society, called the Cambridge Society 
for Psychical Research, was started during the second term 
in Cambridge, early in 1879, and in this he took an active 
part. He assisted at various sittings with mediums, who 
proved to be, with one exception, fraudulent or unsatis- 
factory; and the society gradually dissolved, this being due 
partly to the fact that the members of the society could not 
spare the time from other university work. The exception 
mentioned above was a medium, who gave some remarkable 
tests, sometimes in apparently normal states and sometimes 

4 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

under " control." Dr. Hodgson had met her in London and 
persuaded her to give two experiments to the small society. 
This society, however, had no connection with the later 
organization which took its place in work of this kind and 
owed its existence to a different set of influences. 

Soon after the dissolution of the Cambridge Society, Dr. 
Hodgson joined the new Society for Psychical Research 
which. was organized in 1882 and served on its Council and 
some of its committees. In 1884, he was appointed by the 
Board of Mental and Moral Sciences in Cambridge Uni- 
versity, England, as Lecturer on the Philosophy of Herbert 
Spencer. But this course was interrupted by an appoint- 
ment to go to India and to investigate the marvelous 
phenomena alleged to have occurred in connection with 
Madame Blavatsky and the Theosophical Society. The 
details of the investigation, made in behalf of the Society for 
Psychical Research, were published in Vol. Ill of the 
Society's " Proceedings." His conclusion was that the 
phenomena were fraudulent, and whoever takes the pains to 
examine this report with care must appreciate the strength 
of his case, to say nothing more of it. 

After his return to England, in 1885, he lectured again at 
Cambridge on the Philosophy of Herbert Spencer, and then 
spent a year in London, engaged to some extent in political 
work. At the same time he employed himself in psychic 
research. He conducted a series of investigations, assisted 
by Mr. J. S. Davey, into the possibilities of mal-observation 
and lapse of memory, with special reference to the marvelous 
phenomena alleged to occur in the presence of mediums and 
with reference to conjuring tricks imitative of spiritistic or 
alleged spiritistic phenomena. The result of these investiga- 
tions was published in Vols. IV and VIII of the Society's 
" Proceedings." In the monthly " Journal " of the Society, 
about that time, he reviewed in detail a large number of 
reports of alleged independent slate-writing and analogous 
phenomena, showing that they could be accounted for by 
conjuring. He also contributed papers on philosophic sub- 
jects to the quarterly journal " Mind." 

Early in 1887 he accepted the position of Secretary to the 

Dr. Richard Hodgson. 

American Society for Psychical Research, which, in January, 
1890, was transformed into the American Branch of the 
English Society, of which Branch he was appointed the 
Secretary and Treasurer. During his residence in America 
and his service in the American Branch he contributed 
various articles in the " Forum " and " Arena," as well as a 
number of important papers and reports to the " Proceed- 
ings " of the Society. Of the latter are the following : — 

" A Case of Double Consciousness," being a report on a 
remarkable instance of duplex personality in which a man 
lived a normally unconscious life for eight weeks. The next 
was his first Report on the Piper Case, which was entitled, 
" A Record of Certain Phenomena of Trance." Then came 
an article on " The Defence of the Theosophists," being a 
reply to criticisms by the theosophists of his Report on 
Madame Blavatsky, and an article on " Indian Magic and the 
Testimony of Conjurers." Following this was his second 
Report on the Piper Case, " Further Record of Observations 
of Certain Phenomena of Trance," in which he came out in 
defence of the spiritistic hypothesis as based upon that 

The above short sketch of Dr. Hodgson's life and work 
has been taken, in the main, from the " Religio-Philosophical 
Journal." The editor of that Journal was a personal friend 
of Dr. Hodgson's and received from him the main incidents 
representing his career. The most important incidents, how- 
ever. Dr. Hodgson could not state for himself. It will remain 
for his literary executors to give a more full account of him 
and his work. 

The most important incident in his career was the pub- 
lication of his second Report on the Piper Case. It came out 
in 1898. This represented him as apparently breaking with 
all his previously skeptical convictions in regard to spiritual- 
ism, or what has been called spiritism in order to escape the 
associations which that term has obtained from its connec- 
tion with so much fraud and illusion. Dr. Hodgson had 
established such a reputation for the discovery of fraud and 
for scepticism regarding a future life that his conversion, as 
indicated in this Report, to the theory of spiritism or the 

6 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

possibility of communicating with deceased friends and 
relatives came as a distinct surprise to many psychic 
researchers to say nothing of the astonishment of the man 
of the world. He had been exceedingly cautious and slow in 
the formation of his convictions on the subject, and had 
maintained such a reserve in his scientific utterances that few 
would have even suspected the real sympathies he felt for 
the conclusion which he wished to see proved, but which his 
strength of intellectual nature would not allow to be proved 
by anything short of the most satisfactory evidence. Many 
a time just as he thought he had hit upon the phenomena 
which would serve his purpose he found himself balked by 
various difficulties and had still to suspend his judgment 
until he obtained further light. The primary difficulty with 
the theory was not the lack of supernormal evidence, but the 
peculiar form and limitations of the phenomena which pur- 
ported to be this evidence of a future life. It was not until 
1896 or 1897 that these perplexities were finally cleared up 
in his mind and the result was published in the Report 
mentioned. But the sympathies of his mind are well indi- 
cated in a personal letter to the editor of the " Religio- 
Philosophical Journal " in 1890, before even his first Report 
on the case was published. I am permitted to quote from 
this letter to Col. Bundy. He said : — 

" My interest in psychical research is greater than ever, 
and it seems to me highly probable that before many years 
have elapsed there will be much new and valuable testimony 
before the world as the result of the labors of our society, in 
favor of the spiritualistic claim that it is possible for our 
departed friends under special conditions to make their con- 
tinued existence known to us. It is my own conviction that 
such communication is possible, tho I hold that' it is not 
nearly so frequent as most spiritualists commonly suppose. 
What we need at the present time is the earnest sympathy 
and co-operation of all who do hold or would like to hold this 
conviction as well, indeed, as of all those who think that 
further inquiry may lead to a different conclusion." 

It is a tribute to the scientific cautiousness and thorough- 
ness of the man that he so long persisted in the suspense of 

Dr. Richard Hodgson. 

judgment that carried him through seven or eight years more 
investigation before he would allow himself to confess his 
belief in the scientific evidence for a future life. He appreci- 
ated quite as fully, and in the same spirit, as the lamented 
Frederick W. H. Myers, the wide and deep bearing of the 
belief in a future life upon philosophy, religion, and social 
and political life, but he allowed no mere sentiment to affect 
his conception of the scientific method which was to be the 
arbiter of that fate. As he proceeded with his inquiries, after 
some earlier experiences which had awakened his interest, he 
found himself more and more confronted with difficulties in 
his problem. These difficulties, however, affected the evi- 
dential aspects of it, not the truth of it. He saw more and 
more clearly the radical distinction between scientific proof 
and personal belief obtained by personal experience, a dis- 
tinction which few see, or if they see it, too frequently 
neglect its importance in the prosecution of their work. It 
was the realization of this distinction and its importance for 
his problem that sustained him in a policy which brought 
many an anathema upon his head from the very class whose 
belief he was proving. He had long felt the cogency of 
certain facts in favor of the belief, but as believing and 
proving were such different things to him he sacrificed his 
personal desires to the rigorous demands of scientific method 
and kept up the high ideal which he, with the Society of 
Psychical Research, had formed of scientific duty and 
allegiance. His patience and perseverance were finally 
rewarded. Tho he had much material which had great sig- 
nificance in support of his suit he did not make up his mind 
until fortune favored him with a long series of investigations 
in a single group of the most interesting phenomena yet 
recorded — those of the Piper case. He had been able to 
publish a part — a very small part— of the concrete evidence 
gathered by his labors in support of survival of personal 
identity after death. This he regarded as the foundation of 
his work and he never wearied in his efforts to lay that 
foundation broad and deep. On this foundation it was his 
desire to build a structure which would equally explain the 
perplexities apparent in the problem and the limitations 

8 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 

under which the revelations of another life were made. But 
I believe he had committed nothing to writing of the system 
which he had in mind, save what he had stated briefly in his 
Report on the Piper case, when, on the 20th of December, 
1905, he suddenly passed away and left some future successor 
to gather up the threads which his death so disappointingly 

Of the man Richard Hodgson as he appeared to his 
friends in the ordinary conversation of daily life a sketch has 
been drawn, so vivid and true, that no account of him will be 
complete without quoting from it. His work and convictions 
had brought him to a course which required him to distin- 
guish between a personal and a scientific life and to keep 
them apart in behalf of their own several interests, and this 
resulted in certain concessions to the " personalities " which 
had been instrumental in his conversion to the belief in a 
personal existence after death. Whether he was right or not 
makes no difference to us as long as we know that he sur- 
rendered none of his allegiance to scientific method. To 
quote, then, from the above-mentioned sketch: — 

" Tho finally surrendering his own life to the direction of 
* Imperator ' (the chief of the trance personalities whom he 
recognized in the Piper case as spiritual), he sought to retain 
in his work of interpretation for others the attitude of the 
investigator insisting upon the best of evidence. It was his 
unflagging desire to accumulate a mass of evidence sufficient 
to form a reasonable hypothesis regarding the * spirit world.' 

" There is no lack of pathos, from one point of view, in 
his having dropped this work unfinished. From another 
there is the satisfaction of his having passed quickly, as he 
wished to pass, from the present to the future life. More 
than one of his friends recall the eagerness with which he 
said only last summer, ' I can hardly wait to die.' A keen 
intellectual curiosity regarding what awaited him was his 
own chief concern about death. Then came that which he 
desired; and then neither the doubters nor his fellow- 
believers could wholly grudge him the opportunity to carry 
forward — as he would have said — ' on the other side ' the 
work to which he gave his life on earth. With a swift pas- 

Dr. Richard Hodgson, 

sage from the known to the unknown sphere, the visible life 
among us came to an end. 

" To those who knew him in private his utter confidence 
in his work was one of its highest justifications. To hear 
him talk of that ' other side ' as if it were literally a room 
separated from the house of life only by walls and doors of 
glass, to see him year in and year out devoting to an idea 
intellectual and moral powers which might well have won 
him many of the rewards which men prize most, — this was 
to realize in a measure the spirit which has animated the 
idealists of every age, the spirit through which a man saves 
his life by losing it. 

"The general and the personal significance of his work 
were so inextricably twined together that it is hard to discuss 
it at all without seeming to invade the inmost sanctities. Yet 
it is no sacrilege to quote from a private letter of 1901 a pas- 
sage which reveals at once the intense conviction of Richard 
Hodgson's belief and the pure spiritual faith of which it was 
the embodiment : ' I went through toils and turmoils and 
perplexities in '97 and '98 about the significance of this whole 
Imperator regime, but I have seemed to get on a rock after 
that, — I seem to understand clearly the reasons for inco- 
herence and obscurity, etc., and I think that if for the rest of 
my life from now I should never see another trance or have 
another word from Imperator or his group, it would make no 
difference to my knowledge that all is well, that Imperator, 
etc., are all they claim to be and are indeed messengers that 
we may call divine. Be of good courage whatever happens, 
and pray continually, and let peace come into your soul. 
Why should you be distraught and worried? Everything, 
absolutely everything, — from a spot of ink to all the stars — 
every faintest thought we think up to the contemplation of 
the highest intelligences in the cosmos, are all in and part of 
the infinite Goodness. Rest in that Divine Love. All your 
trials are known better than you know them yourself. Do 
you think it is an idle word that the hairs of our heads are 
numbered? Have no dismay. Fear nothing and trust in 

" His friends and brothers care especially to remember 

lo Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

one thing — that this idealist did not detach himself from the 
most earth-bound of us all. Tho so much of his commerce 
was with the unseen, his feet kept step with ours on solid 
earth. In the field of mental activities, there was no one 
better qualified to discuss the freshest topics of physical 
science, the events and tendencies in the world of affairs, and 
their deeper significance. 

" Nor was this community of interest restricted by any 
means to the things of the mind. The healthy Anglo-Saxon 
devotion to every exhibition of physical prowess was con- 
spicuously characteristic of this child of the spirit. The 
professional ball game, the college boat race and foot-ball 
battle excited his keenest interest; and it was like him to 
double his enjoyment in these sports by the companionship 
of one or more of us. 

" A purity of nature which leaves his friends unable, even 
should they try, to recall a single taint of coarseness in his 
word or thought ; a sincerity like that of a true-hearted boy ; 
an unselfishness and absence of egotism which made our con- 
cerns far more often than his the topics of our personal inters 
course ; a self-respect which included in its operations a body 
as wholesome as the air and sea he loved ; — these must surely 
be remembered in any enumeration of the qualities which 
made his personality so rare a blending of the spirit and the 
flesh. Who better than our well-loved friend can remain 
for us the interpretation and type of this blending? What 
man of us has lived in the flesh a life so illuminated and con- 
trolled by the spirit that the transition from the seen to the 
unseen could have seemed so short a journey as for him ? 
One whose spirit, like our friend's, was clothed with the 
whole armor of faith and courage has told what it is for such 
a man to die : * In the hot-fit of life, a tip-toe on the highest 
point of being, he passes at a bound on to the other side. 
The noise of the mallet and chisel is scarcely quenched, the 
trumpets are blowing, when, trailing with him clouds of 
glory, this happy-starred, full-blooded spirit shoots into the 
spiritual land.' " * 

* "A Memoir of Richard Hodgson," by M. A. DeW. H. Quoted by per- 

Dr. Richard Hodgson. ii 

Very few know anything about the personal struggles 
which he had in the effort to carry on his work. Of the inner 
hfe that sustained him in these struggles during nearly thirty 
years of investigation; that made poverty light and enabled 
him to remain unmoved amidst ridicule and calumny alike, 
and that kept up his faith in the most trying and pathetic 
circumstances the time has not yet come to speak without 
reserve. They were incidents of a firm resolution to know 
and abide by the truth, whether it favored his personal 
wishes or not. Sincerity was native to him, and in the 
modern dissolution of the old faiths the now dominant 
methods of science compelled him to surrender a large part 
of the convictions which he had imbibed with his early teach- 
ing and at a cost which none who do not know the circum- 
stances can realize. He felt that, for him and for men of his 
type, the belief in an unseen world of spirit which is the sole 
sustenance of the best spiritual life, must be based upon 
evidence of a more substantial kind than the one of tradition, 
and that without credentials of a scientific character the 
belief must inevitably waste away. In Professor Sidgwick, 
Mr. Gurney, Mr. Myers and the group of men that gathered 
about them in Cambridge, England, he found men who were 
influenced by the same conviction and the fortunate meeting 
with them determined Richard Hodgson's life work. As 
long as these men lived they were his faithful friends and co- 
workers. None of them ever lost sight of the great end in 
view, namely, the scientific demonstration of a future life, but 
none of them ever forgot that a chief means to that end was 
a strict adhesion to the severest methods of criticism and 
investigation which would result in the collection of a body 
of evidence that would command respect and produce con- 

Dr. Hodgson's native hatred of fraud and humbug 
enabled him to enter into the work of sifting evidence with 
great zest. Early in his career he found it needful to 
acquaint himself with all the methods and appliances with 
which adventurers delude the public and as a result he 
became one of the most skillful detectors of fraud that has 
yet arisen, as was shown in his exposures of Madame Blavat- 

12 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

sky and Eusapia Palladino. Indeed the earlier years of his 
work seem to have been productive rather of negative than 
of positive results. He did meet, however, at an early period 
with a few phenomena which he could not discredit and 
which encouraged him to continue perseveringly his work 
with the hope of finally obtaining what he sought, namely, a 
mass of evidence which would be sufficiently impressive to 
enforce consideration of his problem. This he first found 
in the Piper case. After several years' anxious doubt he 
came finally to the definite conviction that the communica- 
tions there received are the utterances — confused and frag- 
mentary and mingled with extraneous elements — yet in the 
main the utterances of spirits freed from their earthly em- 
bodiment, and in that conviction he found the basis for a 
religious faith which he had so long sought. 

Yet his personal conviction never caused Dr. Hodgson 
to lose his sympathy with the position and difficulties of the 
honest sceptic. He had too long wandered in the labyrinth 
of doubt himself to lose appreciation for those in perplexity 
with their beliefs. He well knew the maxim of Epicharmus, 

A sober sense of honest doubt 
Keeps human reason hale and stout. 

In fact the honest sceptic's state of mind was much more 
congenial to him than that of the uncritical believer. He 
welcomed every precaution an experimenter could take to 
guard against deception and frankly recognized that he had 
himself to bear the suspicion that he was in collusion with 
Mrs. Piper, urging that in no other way could evidence be 
obtained that would be worthy of that name. Sound 
evidence was always his object, both for himself and for 
others, and nothing so much delighted him as the convincing 
of an unbeliever, just as nothing so excited his contempt as 
the unreasoning credulity which accepts everything and 
examines nothing. 

Far as he went in his acceptance of the Piper phenomena, 
he never went further than he believed the evidence would 
carry him. So-called " physical phenomena " he never 
definitely accepted. To a friend who asked him this 

Dr. Richard Hodgson. 13 

question some years ago he replied : " All I can say is that I 
have sought for them diligently more than fifteen years and 
have never found any that I could regard as well established." 
To the same friend he said that he thought Crookes' experi- 
ments with Home were the best attested physical phenomena 
on record, but he could not finally accept them until some 
additional cases had been adduced. This extreme reluctance 
to accept phenomena which he had not personally examined 
frequently caused him to differ with his associates in the 
Society for Psychical Research and especially with Mr. 
Myers. Yet these differences led to no interruption of the 
friendship and esteem that had so long subsisted between 
them. This was well indicated in the fact that Mr. Myers, 
when failing health would not permit him to complete unas- 
sisted his great work on " Human Personality and its Sur- 
vival of Bodily Death," invoked the aid of Dr. Hodgson. Dr. 
Hodgson worked with Mr. Myers for several months and 
after Mr. Myers' death, Dr. Hodgson and Miss Johnson 
superintended the completion of the work. What that work 
owes to Dr. Hodgson's acute intellect and critical judgment 
Mr. Myers alone could attest, and he would no doubt have 
acknowledged the amount of that debt had he lived to write 
the preface. 

It is in place to state something of my own personal 
relation to Dr. Hodgson and his work. The incident that 
attracted my interest in psychical research was his paper on 
"A Case of Double Consciousness," which is mentioned 
above in the list of his contributions to the Society's pub- 
lications. I heard an abstract of it read by himself at a 
meeting in New York City, called for the purpose of organ- 
izing a Section of the Society. What excited so much satis- 
faction in me regarding this paper was the great pains and 
expense involved in the effort to ascertain exactly what the 
facts of the case were without any attempt to offer a theory 
to explain them. The reading of that paper decided my 
mind to join my lot with these investigators. To me it 
seemed that science was primarily observation of facts and 
only secondarily a thing concerned with explanation and 
theory. The joining of the Society soon brought me into 

14 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

intimate relations with Dr. Hodgson as Secretary and also 
as a personal adviser in matters pertaining to it and in which 
I was but a novitiate. I soon learned his range of knowl- 
edge in the complicated field of abnormal and super-normal 
psychology as well as in the prestodigitator's field of tricks 
and illusions. This acquaintance began in 1889 soon after 
I came to Columbia University and it soon ripened into a 
warm friendship. But our relations were associated mostly 
with the scientific aspects of his work. What impressed me 
most in his character was the separation of his emotional 
from his intellectual life, or better his desires from his scien- 
tific judgment. He knew from his own experience and from 
his knowledge of human nature generally that the subject of 
a future life stimulated emotional interests and judgments 
which ought to be kept in abeyance when paying deference 
to the claims and methods of science, and he was so coldly 
cautious on this matter that he never gained the reputation 
before the public, as did Mr. Myers, for human sympathies 
which were his in a most marked degree. He had a pro- 
foundly emotional nature which few ever knew or suspected, 
but he never allowed it to play any part in his scientific con- 
clusions. In this respect he was a perfect master of himself. 
From personal conversations with him I found that he had 
such a confidence in the idealistic view of the world that he 
had no need to press his facts into moulds that did not fit. 
He did not require scientific support for his ideals tho he 
wanted it. Hence he was the most unsparing critic of any 
temptation to accept conclusions in the mere interest of 
emotional passions. This was so true that he had the 
reputation of being an uncompromising opponent of spirit- 
istic theories when the very opposite of this was the fact. 
He was exceedingly anxious to prove that theory, but long 
after he had come to the conclusion personally that the belief 
in a future life was true he kept his scientific method intact 
from the influence of emotional interests and still made many 
spiritualists hate him cordially for his apparently obstinate 
scepticism. He knew better than they, however, the neces- 
sity and importance of methods which serve the truth more 
effectively and more serviceably than impatience with the 

Objects of the Institute, 15 

most rigorous scientific standards. He had his faults, but 
they were not what the public has often supposed. He was 
not always as tactful or patient with others as is necessary 
in this complicated subject, but even in this only his best 
friends are entitled to criticize. The sincerity of his devo- 
tion to sound methods was so great that nothing would stand 
in the way of enforcing their consideration, and the future 
will have occasion to pay its tribute to his insistence on them. 
We were both working together for the proper organi- 
zation and endowment of psychical research in this country 
and I had hoped that only a short time would intervene 
before having him in a position to do his work more effect- 
ively. We exchanged views upon the subject and had 
reached a definite understanding in regard to our policy. 
We both agreed as to the problems which we had to solve 
and also in the main as to the theoretical considerations 
which needed public discussion. But he had been the blazer 
of the way and I was the follower. I had relied upon the 
prospect of his taking the leadership in this country, as there 
Wos no other man so well equipped for it. The deaths of 
Mr. Myers and Professor Sidgwick in England had left the 
work very much in need of successors. With Dr. Richard 
Hodgson passing the great divide there are fewer or no such 
persons to assume the task thus laid down, and those of us 
who are left to continue it will have to accept its duties in a 
stoical temper. 



It will be proper to explain at some length the aims of the 
American Institute for Scientific Research, of which the 
American Society for Psychical Research is but a Section. 
The Institute has received a perpetual charter from the State 
of New York and intends to combine the work of investiga- 
tion and philanthropy. The work of scientific investigation 
will occupy two more or less separate fields of interest. Its 
philanthropic work will be confined to one of them. This 
latter function will be taken up only when it has secured the 

i6 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

proper endowment. In the meantime it can only begin its 
investigations upon a small scale. But the nature, aims and 
needs of the Institute will here be the subject of careful 

I. Nature of the Institute. 

The Institute is constituted by a Board of Trustees, 
whose primary function shall be to act as custodians of funds 
and to supervise their distribution among qualified men or 
bodies of men interested in the fields of abnormal and super- 
normal psychology, and residual phenomena generally. The 
Institute will also supervise the organization of groups of 
scientific men interested in its fields of work. This work will 
be limited to a definite tho comprehensive territory of scien- 
tific investigation and philanthropic labor, namely, that of all 
residual phenomena in normal, abnormal, and supernormal 
psychology, including borderland and sporadic phenomena 
between physiology and psychology. No propagandism of 
any sort, whether philosophic, religious, or scientific, will be 
associated with the work of the Institute. Hence there will 
be no teaching connected with it. Its sole work will be the 
care of endowments and the supervision of investigations 
with such philanthropic services in mental disease as are 
necessary in the interest of these inquiries. 

The first function which the Institute can perform is that 
of a " clearing house " for all those sporadic phenomena and 
isolated cases having a scientific interest for psychology and 
which would otherwise be lost to science. Academies of 
Medicine and bodies of scientific men can be invoked and 
aided in its aims, and committees appointed for the collection, 
record, and publication of important material related to the 
objects of the Institute. It will thus be apparent that the 
Institute does not intend to act in entire independence of 
other efforts to deal with residual phenomena, but as a 
central bureau or co-operative agency in more effective in- 

There are two fields of investigation with which the In- 
stitute will be directly and indirectly occupied. The first 
may be called Psychopathology, or Abnormal Psychology, 

Objects of the Institute, 17 

and with this it is desired to associate a philanthropic work 
of an important kind, a clinic, partly as a means of giving a 
practical character to the Institute's aims and partly as a 
means of facilitating scientific research. The second field is 
popularly known as Psychic Research and may be called 
Supernormal Psychology. It comprehends a variety of 
phenomena imperatively demanding investigation. At 
certain points the two fields tend to merge into each other 
and at others they are widely separated. On this account 
and of several other considerations it is important not to 
associate the investigations of the two fields, while the 
means are provided for the articulation of results in both. 
Hence two Sections of the Institute have been organized. 
Section A., or Psychopathology, and Section B., or Super- 
normal Psychology. 

II, Psychopathology. 

The field of Abnormal Psychology in which philanthropic 
effort may be organized and conducted simultaneously with 
investigation consists of such cases as functional mental 
disease, and all psychological disturbances due even to 
organic troubles; functional insanity and hallucinations; 
amnesia or loss of memory, especially of that type often taken 
for serious insanity, but curable by other than ordinary 
methods; secondary personality or unconscious mental 
action simulative of other agencies than the normal con- 
sciousness; functional melancholia and vicarious or sympa- 
thetic mental aberrations; neurasthenia and psychasthenia; 
hysteria and hystero-epilepsy ; obessions; fixed ideas or 
monomanias; phobias; delusions, alcoholism, and all func- 
tional troubles that may ultimately be made to yield to the 
various forms of suggestion. It will also be an important 
part of the Institute's work to aid or to conduct a thorough 
scientific investigation into the phenomena and capabilities 
of hypnotism, especially on their psychological side, while 
organizing the application of hypnotic therapeutics in their 
scientifically legitimate forms. For this purpose a clinic and 
hospital of the Salpetriere, Nancy or Berillon type would be 
necessary after the Institute has been fully organized. 

i8 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 

In thus outlining this field of work and investigation I do 
not mean to imply that science has been oblivious to it or 
that it has neglected it in its main aspects, but only that the 
work needs both centralization and special attention to its 
psychological as well as to its physiological relations. The 
work proposed is superadded to that of Psychiatry, and is 
not a substitute for it. The physiological study and con- 
nections of the phenomena interesting to it will not be sup- 
planted or ignored by it. On the contrary, this must ever 
be the basis of much of its inquiries and always the final 
result of them. But owing to the fact that there is some 
reason to suppose that the phenomena of consciousness have 
something like a causal nexus between different events in its 
stream and also that they probably exercise a frequent 
influence to produce bodily disturbances, it is desired that 
the purely psychological connections and relations of mental 
phenomena in certain cases be studied with reference to their 
possible value in diagnosis and the application of therapeutic 
methods supplementary to the ordinary ones. Many im- 
portant facts may be ascertained for practical life antecedent 
to the autopsy which must be the last stage of inquiry and 
which never aids in the treatment of the individual patient. 
Experience has shown that the psychological study of certain 
disorders may lead to the improvement in methods of treat- 

This is not the place to explain in detail how the psycho- 
logical aspects of these phenomena shall be investigated, 
since every psychologist will understand what is needed in 
work of this kind in contradistinction from physiological 
problems. What is most wanted is the right understanding 
of the dissociations of abnormal mental life in comparison 
with the associations of normal life, in order to determine 
more distinctly the practical measures which may be neces- 
sary for prevention and cure. The many cures in this field 
effected by suggestion are evidence of what might be accom- 
plished after a more scientific knowledge of abnormal mental 
phenomena has been obtained. 

Incidentally investigations in abnormal mental phe- 
nomena, especially those of secondary personality, may 

Objects of the Institute. 19 

throw light upon some of the vexed problems of philosophy. 
They may affect these in what they show of the nature and 
limitations of our normal personality. We must remember 
that what we directly know of ourselves is the result of in- 
trospection and what we know of the consciousness of others 
is indirectly ascertained through their motor actions. All 
consciousness other than our own is inferred from physical 
actions, and we can infer and understand it only in propor- 
tion to our direct knowledge of ourselves, on the one hand, 
and on the other, in proportion to our knowledge of the 
extent to which consciousness obtains physical expression 
through the motor system in others. In our normal life 
consciousness and the organism are so correlated as never to 
suggest any other conception of their relation than the 
dependence of consciousness on the body and the body alone. 
In this normal life personality seems to have its nature and 
limitations determined by the nature of the organism and its 
wants. Consciousness of the normal type has been useful in 
the struggle for existence and the survival of the fittest, and 
the abnormal types seem to characterize the unfit and unad- 
justed organism. But in certain forms of abnormal mental 
life there are distinct traces of mental action that does not 
obtain physical expression at all times. Unconscious motor 
actions shovr evidence of personality that apparently repre- 
sents no utility in the process of evolution, and sometimes 
indicate a wider range of that personality than the normal. 
Hence it is important to ascertain, if possible, how much 
evidence there may be for this condition of things, as it is 
quite possible to conceive that abnormal rather than normal 
psychology may be the key to the solution of the problems of 
philosophy. It would be strange if Materialism were dis- 
credited by the study of the very phenomena upon which it 
has hitherto relied for the proof of its claims. But however 
this may be it is certain that our conclusions must be con- 
sistent with the existence of the abnormal, and it may be that 
the abnormal instead of the normal must represent the terri- 
tory in which the solution of our problems is to be found. 

We know that the study of physiology and the practice 
of medicine were revolutionized by the study of pathology. 

22 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

many able physicians who would be glad to employ it in 
certain emergencies did it not affect their practice. A clinic 
would obviate this difficulty without affecting the practice of 
those who wish to employ it, while it would at the same time 
afford rare opportunities for the scientific study of hypnotic 
phenomena on a large scale. 

III. Psychic Research. 

'^ The second field for investigation which it is desirable to 
organize and aid is that which is known as Psychic Research. 
The popular conception of this field identifies it with the 
study of Spiritualism which has managed, in this country 
especially, to associate its methods and " phenomena " with 
fraud and illusion to such an extent that it is almost impos- 
sible to elicit attention to genuine phenomena. But it is 
designed in this term to sustain that conception of the field 
which is much wider than the general notion of Spiritualism, 
while it may comprehend it in both its fraudulent and appar- 
ently genuine form. The work of the English Society for 
^Psychical Research defines what we have in view. This 
comprehends alleged telepathy, alleged clairvoyance, alleged 
mediumship, and all claims to the supernormal acquisition 
of knowledge, as well as the alleged production of physical 
effects without contact. As all these phenomena are exceed- 
ingly sporadic, except perhaps their fraudulent form, it is in 
the same degree necessary that the work of investigation 
should be organized and centralized with funds to make its 

'^ aims effective. The organization is in a measure already 
undertaken by the English Society, but very inadequately 
for the want of funds and proper co-operation, and it is the 
aim of the American Institute for Scientific Research to 
organize and endow this work while it extends investigation 

V to abnormal psychology. 

There is a vast field of pseudo-supernormal phenomena 

which intervene between the genuinely supernormal and the 

abnormal, and this field is of especial importance to psychic 

research, more particularly because the abnormal is some- 

nes the medium through which supernormal facts find their 

ay. We require as much to define the limits and medium 

Objects of the Institute, 23 

of the supernormal as we do the existence of the super- 
normal, and these limits are close to a very large territory of 
the abnormal and of secondary personality. It is therefore 
important that we articulate the results of investigation in 
both fields of mental phenomena while we keep the actual 
work of inquiry in each case independent. Scientific men 
will appreciate the necessity of careful methods in this matter 
and ought to recognize the importance of making the investi- 
gation as comprehensive as possible, and of bringing the 
whole field of residual mental phenomena together to ascer- 
tain their inter-relations. Not that the supernormal is 
necessarily associated with the abnormal, but that some- 
where between the purely normal field of mental action and 
the supernormal we should expect to find connecting links, 
now associating the supernormal with the normal and now 
associating it with the abnormal. Our knowledge of its 
nature and limits will thus be determined more or less by the 
borderland cases, so to speak, intervening between the two 

The field of psychic research proper divides itself into at 
least three types of facts having a scientific interest. The 
first of these may be denominated as that of frauds and delu- 
sions. This is an extremely large one and is represented by 
all those forms of jugglery which claim to be " supernatural " 
phenomena, such as slate-writing tricks and cabinet " ma- 
terializations," and various mystifying performances. This 
field of fraud is well organized and equipped for its work. It 
was demoralized by the publication of the Report by the 
Seybert Commission, but since the work of the Society for 
Psychical Research has reinstated the belief in the super- 
normal of some kind, whether rightly or wrongly, the effect 
has been to encourage the reorganization of fraud on a wide 
scale and it is so rife that no better service for a large class 
of people can be performed than to serve as means for the 
correction of illusion and the detection of this fraud. In the 
decline of religious beliefs which had created so many hopes 
and ideals it is quite natural that the despair attending the 
dissolution of that faith should result in the credulous pur- 
suit of consolation, especially if science will not step in to 

24 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research/ 

supply the guidance which is so much needed. Science has 
insisted on supplanting faith in determining truth and hence 
it cannot shirk the duty to take its place in the investigation 
of the phenomena which claim, whether rightly or wrongly, 
to be so important. It cannot assume an attitude of intel- 
lectual and aristocratic pride, after disillusioning mankind as 
to the " supernatural," without forfeiting its claim to be our 
7 moral guide in the affairs of practical life. It must offer a 
constructive view of the world or surrender to the influences 
which scepticism does not and perhaps cannot destroy. In 
this work protection against illusion and fraud is a task not 
less important than the discovery of the supernormal. 

The second field may be called that of the pseudo-super- 
normal and the pseudo-spiritistic type of phenomena, with- 
out implying that there is anything fraudulent or consciously 
associated with deception in them. This field is far larger 
than the public suspects, and is as important as it is scien- 
tifically interesting. This territory was not properly under- 
stood or appreciated before 1879 ^^^ perhaps not until later. 
Hence much that passed for the supernormal and spiritistic 
has been excluded from that consideration, and found to be 
the result of subconscious mental action or secondary per- 
sonality. It is often simulative of other agency than the 
person manifesting it. Flourney's case of Mile. Helene 
Smith is a good instance of this kind. Another most striking 
case is that of Dr. Morton Prince. In less interesting forms 
the phenomena are very frequent and are the source of much 
illusion and error on the part of those who cannot discrimi- 
nate secondary personality from the supernormal. The 
study and mastery of this field will put very decided limits to 
the claims of spiritualism and will also exhibit the matrix 
through which much of the actually supernormal has to 
come. For both sides of the issue involved this field is a 
most important one and its study will afford as much scien- 
tific instruction as it provides protection against illusion. 

The third field is that of the actually supernormal and 
comprises the claims of telepathy and spiritism as names for 
facts and not their explanation. What its extent is we do 
not know and it may be long before we do know. If 

Objects of the Institute. 25 

previous inquiry had discredited the existence of anything 
supernormal the claims of investigation could not be so 
forcibly presented. But the work of the Society for 
Psychical Research, though carried on under disadvantages 
and discouragements which no other form of inquiry has had 
to suffer, has presented such a mass of evidence for some- 
thing exceptional in the processes of acquiring knowledge 
that its possible meaning for philosophy, science, religion, 
ethics, and politics cannot longer be ignored without for- 
feiture of the claim to scientific intelligence, to say nothing 
of human moral interests. This is true without accepting 
even the provisional hypotheses which are often put forward 
to explain its phenomena. But even its best accredited 
theory, if theory it is, namely, telepathy, is not a generally 
accepted fact in the scientific world, and whether true or 
false involves vastly important consequences to human 
knowledge. If true, it revolutionizes philosophical psy- 
chology and if false its place must be taken by a far vaster 
hypothesis, and as the phenomena which bear this super- 
normal character are very sporadic, organization on a large 
scale is the only means of testing the claims of any theory 
and of ascertaining the conditions under which the 
phenomena occur. 

Then there are the phenomena of apparitions which com- 
prehend phantasms of the living, of the dying, and of the 
dead, and which seem to transcend explanation by chance 
and subjective hallucination, but for which we have as yet 
no adequate or intelligent explanation. To consider them 
as having a cause outside the organism in which they occur 
as facts of experience is to open up the largest question of 
interesft that man ever faced and may be fraught with an im- 
portance which it is impossible to estimate. 

Connected with, apparitions and suggesting the same 
general explanation are genuine mediumistic phenomena 
which are something like experimental data bearing upon 
the proof of a life after death. There are many doubts and 
perplexities associated with such a conclusion, but the facts 
are certainly very impressive when we have excluded fraud 
from their production. They are of a character which makes 

26 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

it inexcusable to neglect their investigation. The system- 
atic work of the Society for Psychical Research has placed 
the subject beyond ridicule or legitimate indifference, and it 
only remains to give the problems which are suggested by 
the facts and the exclusion of fraud some scientific solution, 
whatever this may be. It is even possible that an inquiry of 
this kind might result in scientific assurance regarding a 
future life. If the verdict be affirmative, no matter whether 
such a life be desirable or not, we should know upon what we 
have to reckon, as in all the other rational affairs of the 
present life. If the verdict be negative we should have our 
protection from illusion which is scarcely less important than 
the discovery of positive truth. But we must be neither 
credulous nor incredulous in the matter. We cannot afford 
to be fooled by scepticism, if a future life be a fact, and we 
cannot afford to be fooled by belief in it if it be not a fact ; and 
indifference to it is only an excuse for the evasion of respon- 
sibilities which, if it happens to be a fact, we would never 
escape in any other question of knowledge and morality. 

The most important consideration for the investigation 
of mediumistic and similar phenomena is, as already indi- 
cated, their sporadic character. The evidential cases are 
perpetually eluding us, and nothing but a central organi- 
zation can hope to cope with the problem of collecting them 
for scientific treatment. They are such as cannot be verified 
at every moment or place. In the physical sciences it is 
somewhat different. When a physicist announces a new 
discovery his claims can be tested in a short time in most of 
the institutions of the world. It is not so with the claims of 
a psychical researcher. Its phenomena are so casual and 
so complicated, even when they are not supernormal, that 
only some highly organized and endowed effort can accom- 
plish anything with them. This is true of all residual 
phenomena, whether physical or mental. But it is still more 
true of the abnormal and supernormal in psychology where 
the complications are much greater than in the inorganic 
world of matter. 

There are also very important fields of residual phe- 

Objects of the Institute. 27 

nomena in the borderland between physiology and psychol- 
ogy that require investigation. They are all alleged facts 
bearing upon the problems of the inheritance or non- 
inheritance of acquired characteristics and of prenatal in- 
fluences, with perhaps many allied phenomena. The facts 
related to these questions generally elude us like ghost 
stories, while the importance of a definite knowledge on both 
these questions represents one of the most gigantic ethical 
problems ever considered by science. It is difficult to experi- 
ment in either of them, while we can endeavor to avail our- 
selves of the real or apparent experiments of nature and, if 
possible, to give them scientific credentials, in so far as such 
a character is conceivable regarding spontaneous phenom- 
ena. There is much unsystematized matter bearing upon 
these questions, but its nature and value will not be known 
until it is studied in a scientific manner and the conditions 
known which aflfect its moral importance. 

IV. Endowment of the Institute. 

It will be apparent that the financial wants of such a work 
will be very large, especially that it combines philanthropic 
effort with scientific investigation. For its complete 
organization and effective administration many millions will 
ultimately be required. But it can make a very good begin- 
ning of its work with a sum much less than its ultimate needs 
require and which can at first be divided between the two 
departments of the Institute's task. When it has demon- 
strated its usefulness, it will have no difficulty in securing 
adequate financial support, as its results will be quickly 
appreciated by every man who sees its humanitarian import- 
ance and feels what the privilege may be in considering its 

The importance of the work at present is clear enough to 
the scientific man, and if we can only combine the enthusiasm 
and sympathy of those who appreciate the opportunity there 
will be those who will come forward to see that the com- 
pletion of the work shall be eflfected. In the meantime it is 
all-important to make a beginning, and this can be done in 
either of the departments by a sum smaller than that which 

28 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 

has been named. Any beginning will quickly demonstrate 
the value of the work and it is the rarest of all privileges to 
see that the task is immediately undertaken. 


The explanation of the objects of the Institute outlines a 
scheme that involves a very large and expensive scientific 
work. It must show its worthiness by initial investigations 
and publications and will not expect any sufficient financial 
aid until it has shown its importance. That it has some 
claims, however, to financial assistance ought to have been 
made clear by the last twenty years of the London Society's 
work. It is to this that attention is called in putting the 
claim for endowment forward as one of the first objects of 
the present undertaking. The time has gone by when we 
should rely upon the sporadic and voluntary contribution of 
individuals for the sole evidence of the supernormal and 
some effort should be made in earnest to place the investi- 
gations upon the same substantial basis as is enjoyed by 
other phenomena. It has been made all the more imperative 
by the dissolution of the American Branch, which never had 
funds enough to do its work rightly. I wish in the inaugu- 
ration of this new movement to keep its financial needs as 
prominent as the importance of its work and to do this I 
ought to explain definitely what scientific investigations of 
the kind cost. 

Some measure of the expense involved in the scientific 
examination of psychic phenomena may be seen in the cost 
of the twenty years of experiments with Mrs. Piper. They 
cost in all probably as much as $75,000, and this was not a 
large sum compared with the value of the results. It will 
cost much more to deal in a similar manner with a number 
of like cases, and this must be done before the rigid demands 
of scientific method are satisfied even for the simplest phase 
of the conclusion involved. It is not expected immediately 
to launch upon such an undertaking until the funds are 
secured. But it is hoped that this need will be appreciated 

Needs of the Institute. 29 

as early as possible and that friends of the work will see that 
a proper corps of men are put to work on this task. 

The membership fees, unless they come from several 
thousand members, can hardly do more than pay for pub- 
lications and office expenses. This was all that could be 
effected by the fees of the American Branch, and indeed they 
did not suffice for that purpose. There were not even funds 
to pay for publications of any kind. Nothing but imperfect 
records could be made of phenomena independent of the 
Piper case. If this subject is to merit the attention and 
respect of scientific men it must be able to collect and publish 
scientific matter for study. This labor is not less expensive 
than other scientific investigations and will require the same 
patience and sacrifices that the discovery of all scientific 
truth claims. A large membership will help greatly toward 
the desired end, if it only creates a public opinion to support 
the work. The membership could be large enough to endow 
the work partly in a few years, but this result will not be 
expected from that source. 

One of the most important steps demanding immediate 
attention is the funds to put such men to work as may suc- 
ceed to it when the present organizers have passed away. 
One of the great misfortunes to the work of Dr. Hodgson 
was the inability to have had a man with him who could have 
taken up his work without interruption and this disaster 
ought not to happen again. The immediate crying need is 
men enough to investigate cases and experiences all over the 
country as they come to our notice. This requires that we 
be able to give suitable men a career. The proper men for 
the work will not undertake it unless a career can be offered 
and time given for doing really scientific investigation. 

Another important circumstance should be noted. It 
refers to immediate wants. There are a number of very 
promising cases which ought to receive scientific attention. 
They require to be put under the proper care and surveillance 
in order to make the results of investigation scientifically 
valuable. A series of protected experiments are necessary 
as a means of ascertaining whether such an investigation as 
has been given to Mrs. Piper would be desirable. I know 

30 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 

seven cases which demand such attention. Even the prelim- 
inary investigation cannot be adequately carried out without 
funds for it. The small fund already obtained for prelim- 
inary organization of the Institute may suffice to determine 
the importance of the cases, but it will not long support a 
large investigation of them. 

The office and editorial work will require most of one 
man's time and labor, so that a very early need is the employ- 
ment of an assistant who may make a career of his work. 
Next to this is a fund for coralling cases for experimental 
investigation. No reliance can be placed upon experiences 
with professional psychics. Private cases must be pro- 
tected against doubt and suspicion. Scientific method 
requires that the experimenter be able to determine the con- 
ditions under which his investigations are made and to sup- 
ply this wartt we must guarantee the instrument of investi- 
gation against the objections which the habits of adventurers 
have brought upon the men who deal in psychic phenomena. 
An admirable article on this subject was recently published 
in the " Annals of Psychical Science " by its editor. There 
it was shown that psychics needed the same care and pro- 
tection that any machine for experimentation requires and 
the sooner that this fact is realized the better for the work. 

The appeal is therefore here made for an early endow- 
ment of the Institute that its work may be properly organ- 
ized. As much attention must be called to this as to the 
investigation, and in fact the investigation cannot be prop- 
erly conducted unless the endowment be made equal to the 
task. Just to put the work on a proper foundation will 
require an income of $10,000 a year. If that can be secured 
by membership fees and a reasonable assurance made that 
it will be permanent it will be easy to initiate a work which 
will soon secure a larger endowment on its merits. It is 
hoped that members will use their influence to encourage 
the establishment of an adequate fund for the application of 
proper scientific methods to this very complicated problem. 

It is due to those who may be interested in both the work 
of psychic research and its endowment to say that a small 
fund has already been secured. The amount pledged and 

Needs of the Institute. 31 

paid in has been $25,000, which was obtained as a prelim- 
inary organization fund and with the liberty of using both 
principal and interest in the work designed by the Institute. 
The permanent endowment desired is $1,000,000, which will 
yield about $40,000 a year for the investigations. A large 
sum will be required for Psychopathology. But we are here 
speaking only of the needs of psychic research, which 
demands $10,000 a year for putting it rightly on its feet. It 
is hoped that we may be able to make the fund now available 
a part of such an endowment and we can certainly do this if 
an adequate permanent fund can be secured at an early date. 

In behalf of the plan for endowment we call special 
attention to the following scheme of membership. There 
will be five types of members: Founders, Patrons, Fellows, 
Members, and Associates. Those classes whose contribu- 
tion establish a permanent endowment are mentioned in 
their place. It would not require a very large number of 
these to place the Society beyond the contingencies of 
annual assistance. We would therefore emphasize the con- 
sideration of this plan by all that are interested in the prob- 
lems of the institute. 

Founders shall have all the privileges of Patrons, Fellows, 
Members, and Associates, and shall have their names pub- 
lished in perpetuity, if so desired, in the Proceedings of the 
Institute in all its Sections. A person may become a 
Founder upon the payment of $S,ooo. 

Patrons shall have the privileges of Fellows, Members, 
and Associates, and shall have their names published during 
their lives, if so desired, in the Proceedings of the Institute 
in all its Sections. A person may become a Patron upon 
the payment of $1,000. 

Fellows shall have the privilege of being enrolled in all 
Sections of the Institute ; of receiving the publications of the 
same; of the use of the rooms and library, and shall pay an 
annual fee of $25. A person may become a Life Fellow upon 
the payment of $500. 

Members shall have the privilege of being enrolled in one 
Section of the Institute; of receiving all the publications of 

32 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 

that Section, and shall pay an annual fee of $io. A person 
may become a Life Member upon the payment of $200. 

Associates shall have the privilege of being enrolled in 
one Section of the Institute ; of receiving only the " Journal " 
published in that Section, and shall pay an annual fee of $5. 
A person may become a Life Associate upon the payment 
of $100. 

The funds contributed by Founders, Patrons, Life Fel- 
lows, Life Members, and Life Associates will be invested, 
and only the incomes thereof used in the work of the Insti- 


In connection with the statement of the aims of the 
American Institute for Scientific Research should go an 
explanation of the means by which its work shall appear 
before the public. These means will be its publications. 
The record and discussion of its investigations will find ex- 
pression in the publication of two organs. These will be an 
annual volume of " Proceedings " or " Reports," and a 
" Journal." The annual Proceedings will consist of detailed 
reports and discussions of a more scientific character and 
representing matter which is intended to be of more per- 
manent value. The Journal will be an organ with less pre- 
tensions as a detailed record of its matter and will be in- 
tended to serve a more popular object. It will be necessary 
to explain briefly its nature and policy, both in regard to 
what it will not do and what it will do. 

There are three things which the Journal will not do. 
First, it will not be an organ for the publication of specu- 
lative theories of any kind, philosophical, religious, or scien- 
tific. Its primary object must be scientific record and criti- 
cism. Various theories and explanations of phenomena may 
come in for discussion, but the Journal will not be an ex- 
ponent of any special view of facts. Secondly, it will not 
limit itself to evidence of the supernormal, but will empha- 
size the record of facts of mental experience, throwing light 
on the conditions affecting the supernormal, and admit such 

Prospectus. 33 

criticism and discussion as will enable it to serve some con- 
structive object. Thirdly, it will not limit its task to the 
discovery and exposure of mere frauds and illusions. As 
little of this work will be done as possible. Some of it will 
be absolutely necessary for the protection of genuine facts. 
But there is no longer good excuse for confining attention 
to the fraudulent and illusory aspect of psychic research. 
The time has come to do some other kind of work and to 
emphasize it, tho it will devolve upon us to be the conserva- 
tive influence in the community concerning such things as 
the supernormal. The discovery and exposure of fraud and 
of illusions have their value for psychology as well as for 
public interest, and this wholly apart from the existence of 
anything supernormal. Consequently they may stop the 
exploitation of human credulity by adventurers in matters 
so important as real psychic research. But if the super- 
normal of any kind be a fact it would be inexcusable to ever- 
lastingly pander to the prejudices of scepticism simply 
because it is respectable. Hence it will be a fundamental 
part of the Journal's policy to see that the claims of the 
supernormal shall have fair consideration. 

The matter which the Journal intends to furnish its 
readers will consist of five kinds: general articles, editorial 
matter, incidents, correspondence and discussion, and re- 

The first will be articles on such topics as will interest 
psychic researchers in regard to methods, special cases, 
psychological problems of an obscure type, historical ques- 
tions in philosophy and other intellectual fields as affecting 
psychic research, and any phenomena connected with the 
main purpose of the Society. Special emergencies will 
determine the nature of the matter so regarded. 

The editorial department will serve as a vehicle for the 
discussion of questions suggested by correspondence and the 
general needs of the work in regard to methods, experimenta- 
tion, and all conditions affecting the nature and results of 
investigation. The amount of space devoted to this depart- 
ment will vary with circumstances. 

In regard to the publication of incidents several consid- 


34 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

erations will have to be taken into account. In the first 
place, incidents will not be published on the ground that they 
"prove" any special contention, even though as a fact they 
may do so. Whatever value they may have as individual 
phenomena their real importance must be determined by 
their place in a collective whole. The evidential point of 
view for science is quantity as well as quality and in observ- 
ing this rule we mean to suspend explanatory considerations 
in the publication of them. This must be reserved for the 
discussions in the Proceedings where the facts can have a 
collective force and importance. In the second place, the 
records in the Journal will be treated as "raw material" re- 
quiring either more detailed investigation and discussion or 
the multiplication of confirmatory evidence to give them 
scientific importance. They will primarily justify inquiry 
rather than prove theories. The plan will be to allow the 
reader to determine for himself the interpretation of such 
incidents as the Journal records. All general theories of 
them must be referred to other publications where the crite- 
rion of quantity may be satisfied. In the third place, the 
Journal must confine its incidents to the less comprehensive 
instances of mental experience and experiment. Detailed 
and elaborate cases will have to go to the Proceedings. In 
the fourth place, it will consider phenomena that interest 
psychological students wholly apart from the supernormal 
and that serve as the matrix in which the supernormal may 
be moulded. This brings its functions into the field of illu- 
sions, hallucinations, coincidences and similar phenomena of 
an unusual kind. In the fifth place, it will try, as far as the 
circumstances permit, only to vouch for the fitness of the 
recorcis for serious consideration. Whether facts have been 
accurately and correctly described by reporters will perhaps 
be a matter of individual judgment, and the editor wishes to 
defer as much as possible to that right, though endeavoring 
to admit only such instances of personal experience as seem 
to him probably important for some purpose. Their record 
will be intended to call out thorough investigation and dis- 
cussion upon their merits in this respect. Those which pass 
this ordeal and embody the essential characteristics of evi- 

Editorial. 35 

dential matter may be usable in constructive discussion in 
regard to general views affected by collective masses of evi- 
dential matter. 

The publication of correspondence and discussion will 
have to be regulated by the editor's judgment of its relation 
to the general policy of the Journal. Only such letters and 
discussions can receive publication as seem to represent the 
scientific objects which we wish to keep uppermost in our in- 
vestigations. ThisJ department is intended to be a vehicle 
for the critical expression of views regarding published mat- 
ter and so a medium for others than the official representa- 
tives of the Society. 

The reviews of books will be those of a shorter nature. 
More elaborate reviews and discussions of books will have 
to be reserved for the Proceedings. 


In the February number of the Journal we shall have 
one of two articles representing a summary of experiments 
with Mrs. Piper since the death of Dr. Richard Hodgson, 
The detailed records will receive publication at some later 
time in the Proceedings. 

Readers of the Journal must remember that the dissolu- 
tion of the American Branch of the Society for Psychical 
Research with the removal of the records accumulated by 
Dr. Richard Hodgson in Boston to England makes it neces- 
sary to begin the work of collection anew in this country. 
There will probably be some difficulty in obtaining well at- 
tested phenomena for scientific purposes and it may require 
several years work to arrive at that point of interest which 
the collection of Dr. Hodgson had established. The co- 
operation of all that are interested is earnestly sought to 
make up for the loss of that material, which will undoubtedly 
receive publication by the London Society. 

36 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

Explanation of Terms. 

An important precaution should be stated regarding the 
use of terms in the Journal for denoting the various types of 
phenomena recorded. There are three terms which are 
commonly taken as terms of explanation, but which are really 
and only descriptive terms. They are Telepathy, Clairvoy- 
ance, and Premonition. They will be used in the record of 
incidents merely as classifying or descriptive terms and not 
in any sense as implying a specific cause or explanation of the 
facts. Telepathy will be a name for coincidences between 
the thoughts of two or more persons that suggest a causal 
nexus of some kind, though we may not be able to define this 
cause. Clairvoyance will be the name for the alleged acqui- 
sition of physical knowledge not previously acquired by the 
subject in a normal manner and not referable to telepathy. 
Premonition will be the name for those incidents which claim 
to forecast future events in some specific manner not ex- 
plicable by chance or guessing, or ordinary prediction. The 
three classes of phenomena are somewhat distinct in their 
character and even if they be ultimately referable to a com- 
mon cause they will probably have subsidiary hypotheses 
associated with their explanation. But in the meantime we 
can only classify the facts, and the terms used for this pur- 
pose must be employed only in the descriptive sense defined. 
They will not be in any sense explanatory. 

The American and the London Societies. 

The reorganization of psychic research in this country 
may suggest to many persons a misconception of the motives 
at the basis of it, and hence the idea that it is to be a rival 
afJain If any such conception of the matter should arise it 
is proper to disillusion those who entertain it. While it was 
the original purpose of Dr. Hodgson and those who were 
interested in the Institute ultimately to merge the American 
>anch \x\X\\ the Institute it was not to be done in any way 

at would involve unnecessary friction with the parent body. 

le American Branch had its own funds and was in no wav 

EditoriaL 37 

helped for years by the English body and it was deemed 
necessary to seek financial assistance in this country. This 
required that local responsibility should exist for their use. 
Dr. Hodgson's death interrupted this plan, and it was the 
purpose of the Institute to abandon the organization of an 
independent body unless the English Society dissolved the 
American Branch. The subject is one in which rivalry of 
any kind would be at least unfortunate, if not fatal. Hence 
it is and was desired that there should be no sense of rivalry 
in the organization and work in the field. It will be the 
policy of the American Society to encourage all who are able 
to remain members of the English Society while they are 
asked to join the new American Society. Both Societies 
have the same object and merely occupy different fields in 
which it is more convenient to do the work independently 
than in union. There is to be no competition in their organ- 
ization and investigations. All that are interested and have 
the means should support both of them, as it is financial as- 
sistance that is most needed for conducting their work 
rightly. With this understanding there need be nothing but 
goodwill and a co-operative spirit in carrying on the investi- 
gations for which they exist. 

Dr. James J. Putnam of Boston, and Dr. Minot J. Savage 
found it necessary to resign from the Board of Trustees of 
the American Institute for Scientific Research. Dr. Savage 
resigned because of his ill health, and Dr. Putnam had other 
reasons for not continuing in its service. Dr. R. Heber 
Newton was willing to resign in deference to an unfounded 
prejudice against clergymen on such a Board. His resigna- 
tion, however, was laid on the table at a meeting of the 
Board and it is hoped that circumstances will arrive that will 
make it wiser to withdraw his resignation. 

This misunderstanding on the part of many person? 
about the work of the Board makes it advisable to explain 
it more clearly. It has been the impression that the Board 
of the Institute is an investigating body. It is in fact noth- 
ing of the kind, and so does not require professionally scien- 

38 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

tific men to do its work. It is desired that the Board shall 
be constituted of men having a national reputation so far as 
that is possible that it may be the custodian and disburser of 
the funds contributed to the investigations and practical 
work of its Sections. The Councils in the separate Sections 
are to supervise the scientific aspects of the work and the 
general Board of Trustees will do nothing more than inspire 
confidence in the care and use of the endowment which the 
Institute seeks and expects. The Institute is modelled after 
the Carnegie Institute in Washington. The Board of that 
Institution is not primarily a scientific body and does not re- 
quire to be. The scientific men are the receivers of subsidies. 
It is intended that the work of the American Institute shall 
conduct its work in the same way. The independent Sec- 
tions shall be responsible for the scientific features of the 
work and it is these that must have scientific men for their 
members. Section "A" will be for Psychopathology or Ab- 
normal Psychology, and Section "B" for Psychic Research 
or Supernormal Psychology. The Board of the American 
Institute will simply stand for the importance and respecta- 
bility of the work and will be responsible for the care of its 
endowments. That will be the only service expected of it. 

The present Board consists of the Incorporators and Dr. 
R. Heber Newton and Mr. Charles Griswold Bourne. The 
Incorporators will resign when the Board has been com- 
pleted. They are serving only as a working body until the 
proper persons have been selected. It will be a matter of 
some difficulty in the present state of things to secure the 
men desired. In this country the work of abnormal psychol- 
ogy and psychic research has not yet received the open sup- 
port that it obtains in Europe. There it has received aristo- 
cratic indorsement and scientific men lose nothing by mani- 
festing an interest in it. Patience and hard work will give it 
the standing which it deserves and which it has received in 
other lands. 

In answer to many inquiries which come to us from 
various sources it may be well to state that Mrs. Leonora 

Incidents. 39 

Piper, who was so long the subject of investigation and 
experiments by Dr. Richard Hodgson, has recently gone to 
England under the auspices of some of the members of the 
English Society for Psychical Research. She will remain at 
least for the year in England, and no other assured plans 
have, at present, been arranged for the future. 

Apropos of this circumstance it may be well to announce 
that some recent experiments have revealed another case 
which might be made as useful to science as that of Mrs. 
Piper had we the endowment fund to protect it and to enable 
proper experimentation to be carried on. It is the case of 
Mrs. Smead (pseudonym), the wife of a clergyman and 
never at any time a professional. An article representing 
some experiences and experiments in connection with her 
was recently published in the " Annals of Psychical Science." 
The experiments which have since then been conducted 
under more favorable conditions for scientific importance 
have shown that it is a case which we cannot afford to 
neglect. It is hoped that a report of these experiments can 
be published in an early number of the " Proceedings." In 
the meantime we can only present the opportunity for 
scientific investigation in the case to all those who may 
appreciate the nature of such an undertaking. 

We would call special attention to the reprint of the 
Application Blank which occupies two pages at the end of 
this Journal. It is designed for those who may be interested 
in becoming members. They have only to cut it out, sign 
it in conformity to the conditions specified therein and mail 
to the Secretary. 


The Society assumes no responsibility for anything published 
under this head and no endorsement is implied, except Uiat it has 
been furnished by an apparently trustworthy contributor whose 
name is given unless withheld at his own request. 

40 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 


The public is very generally acquainted with the entertain- 
ments of persons calling themselves the Fays and these perform- 
ances have been constantly reported to me as " remarkable " and 
as illustrating mind-reading of a very extensive type. Being a 
public affair 1 never had any interest in them as matters having 
any scientific importance. But the constant reports to me of 
facts that certainly mystified the audiences and which could not 
be easily explained as reported made it necessary for me to wit- 
ness the entertainment that I might say to people, who were 
always asking me whether I had seen them or not and advising 
me to go, that I had seen them. I felt that I had no right to 
express an " a priori " judgment about them, no matter how 
certain I might be regarding their actual or possible explanation, 
and that my judgment would have more weight if I could report 
from experience. It was enough for me personally that the per- 
formance was the stereotyped one to make it scientifically worth- 
less, even if it was what it appeared to be to observers interested 
in the supernormal. But I saw no reason for depending upon 
conjecture in spite of the fact that the performances belonged to 
the class which has had the run ever since Houdin or Cagliostro. 
I knew well enough that the performances were not reported to 
me rightly. At least I felt quite certain of it, but would not 
allow surmises to regulate my statements, tho the time will 
soon come when it will not h€ necessary to witness such enter- 
tainments in order to express a judgment of their real character. 

The consequence was that I took the first opportunity in New 
York to go and see their performance. It was at the Alhambra. 
It may surprise some readers if I say that, so far from interesting 
me as mind-reading, the performance bored me. It was not at 
all what was reported to me. People had told me that the mind- 
reading was remarkable and the description of the phenomena 
certainly made them so appear. But there was not the 
slightest superficial evidence of such a phenomenon in the per- 
formance, taking the question of conditions into account in the 
matter. In order to confirm my impressions and in order to 
secure definite evidence of what the explanation was I went a 
second time and took a stenographer with me for reporting 
certain statements of Mr. Fay that were of importance inproving 
that reports of such entertainments are rarely correct. The con- 
sequence was that I confirmed the view which I had taken of the 
first entertainment. 

The first thing to be said in justice to the Fays is that they 
actually make no pretense of doing what the public usually 
reports as being done. This fact struck me as one of the most 
astonishing that I ever observed. It is such a good illustration 

Incidents. 41 

of mal-observation on the part of people reporting on such 
phenomena. Mr. Fay prefaced the performance with remarks 
about it. He stated that he and Mrs. Fay did not pretend that 
there was anything supernatural about the entertainment, but 
that what they did was done by perfectly natural means. He 
said, however, that he did not pretend to explain it and that the 
audience could draw its own conclusions. There was a slightly 
oracular air about his evidently prepared statements that was 
calculated to mislead careless observers. He was quite willing 
to leave upon his hearers a mystified impression, tho his 
language did not require any interpretation implying more than 
the traditional prestodigitator's illusions. He reiterated several 
times his disclaimer to the supernatural and there was no excuse 
on the part of the audience for thinking the performance any- 
thing more than what can be seen with Hermann and Kellar. In 
perfect justice to the Fays, therefore, it should be said that their 
performance is a perfectly legitimate entertainment for those 
who go to witness jugglers' tricks of that sort. Men are them- 
selves to blame if they imagine that it is anything else, for the 
Fays are careful to exculpate themselves from the accusation of 
being frauds. If the audience would simply observe what it is 
told it would see that the whole thing is an illusion and that it 
has no right to cry fraud until it has eliminated its own illusions. 
The only criticism which can be made of the Fays is that the 
language of Mr. Fay is studiedly vague and is well calculated to 
deceive the unwary listener. That is perhaps the art of the 
juggler to help in the impressiveness of his performance. Her- 
mann and Kellar used it, but with no intent to deceive any one 
in an illegitimate way. It is often necessary to put the mind in 
a condition to appreciate the mystery about the performance and 
so to increase the difficulty of explaining it easily. But this is no 
reason why the observer should assume a credulous attitude 
toward phenomena that have an oracular claim to a supernormal 

I am not going to enter into any detailed account of what the 
tricks are or how they are performed. As I am not entitled, 
after the explanatory remarks of Mr. Fay himself, to accuse them 
of fraud, it is neither necessary nor just to make such an accu- 
sation any more than we would accuse a professional prestodigi- 
tator of it when he is mystifying us by his tricks. But it will be 
permissible to call attention to an interesting historical fact 
which will explain both the short memories of the public and its 
careless judgment of such phenomena. 

The performances of the Fays which I witnessed contained 
two parts. The first was what is called a physical phenomenon 
in the parlance of psychic research. Mrs. Fay permits a com- 
mittee — two men in what I witnessed — to tie bands about each 

42 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

wrist and then to tie her hands to a post or board behind her 
back. The details I need not give as I am concerned only with 
the appearance of security in the case. In this condition a sort 
of cabinet is drawn up to cover her from the sight of the audience 
and she then throws objects placed on her lap out through an 
opening in the shielding curtain, or a glass placed on her lap is 
found held in her teeth, or a box is placed around her and a tarn- 
bourine is thrust about. To the ordinary spectator the 
phenomenon seems inexplicable. 

But I would remark two important facts. First the very 
presence of the cabinet and concealing curtain proves that it is 
not what it appears to be. There is no excuse for this conceal- 
ment but the fact that the trick cannot otherwise be performed 
without betraying its method, which is very simple. Secondly, 
there is no assurance that the committee does not actually consist 
of confederates, who do the tying to suit the emergency. Con- 
federates are not at all necessary for this performance, as it can 
be carried out very easily without confederates of any kind except 
Mr. Fay, and with "green" hands it can be done without his 
complicity. I refer to these circumstances because they are so 
usually neglected by spectators in the formation of their judg- 
ments or in their experience of mystification. These incidents 
are presumably negligible circumstances when as a fact they can 
be the secret of a perfectly simple explanation. The form in 
which they are presented is calculated to disarm our suspicion as 
our attention is concentrated on other matters in the perform- 
ance. What we need to learn in such cases is the habit of careful 
observation of all the facts and of recognizing that the very cir- 
cumstances which we are disposed to disregard are the important 
supernormal character was as questionable thirty years ago as 
ones, at least in many or most cases. 

But there is a more interesting fact which should be remarked 
in regard to this physical performance. It is fully described and 
explained with illustrations in Truesdell's " Bottom Facts of 
Spiritualism." Curious enough the performance in all the details 
of the present Fays — who have no connection with the original 
Annie Eva Fay, save that Mr. Fay is represented as her son, — is 
precisely that which I mention. It was a trick of the original 
Annie Eva Fay and can be performed by even the most amateur 
person after a little practice. It is strange that such a per- 
formance could be revived at this day without newspaper dis- 
covery and exposure. But here is the same old trick exciting the 
interest and credulity of the public and the newspapers do not 
'-now enough of history to recognize the phenomena. 

")f course, to begin with, no one should take such perform- 
; seriously. They no doubt do so for reasons that did not 
' in the last generation. The existence of anything whatever 

Incidents. 43 

of a supernormal character was as questionable thirty years ago 
as the belief in fairies, and only the serious claim on the part of 
psychic researchers that telepathy is a fact could revive a dis- 
position to think that there " must be something in it " when a 
juggler makes claims to the supernatural. When a man dis- 
covers some new phenomenon in physical science and proves his 
case satisfactorily to the scientific world he can then turn to 
public exhibitions and illustrations of his discoveries. This is 
what has occurred with Xrays, with wireless telegraphy, color 
photography and similar matters of public interest. It is then 
quite natural, when the claim of mysterious agencies is made, 
that the public should throw aside its natural scepticism and 
listen patiently and credulously to such performances. But 
while it is natural it is not intelligent to do so. Such claims have 
not been satisfactorily proved to the scientific world and hence 
the duty of the public is to respect scientific method and con- 
ditions until the existence of " supernatural " phenomena has 
been proved. It can then be a passive spectator to the exhibi- 
tion of them. I am not implying that they ever will be proved 
to the satisfaction of any one, but I am emphasizing the point of 
method which is so essential to keep in mind when witnessing 
claims of the kind under consideration. There is no excuse in 
assuming the possibility of such things and suspending our 
sceptical judgment in the presence of public performers. Such 
performances are prima facie jugglers' tricks until they are 
proved otherwise, and they will never be proved otherwise in 
such a public way. 

Readers will be interested to know that some persons who 
had been in the employ of the Fays appropriated some of the 
material and devices used in their entertainments to set up a 
similar business of their own. The Fays brought suit for an 
injunction and the defendants aver that the performances, in 
which they were themselves accomplices, are all tricks. It is not 
our place here to discuss the merits of either side to such a con- 
troversy, but it is clear from the affidavits made and from the 
evidence on file in the New York Courts that the phenomena 
exhibited by the Fays have no claim to serious consideration by 
intelligent people. A complete copy of the documents on file in 
the New York Courts is in our possession. It is not necessary 
to publish these. Their existence is sufficient to show the folly 
of scientific interest in such performances. 

I shall not give any explanation of the " mind-reading " per- 
formance of the Fays as I witnessed it. I shall not treat a per- 
fectly legitimate entertainment and amusement as a fraud. My 
object here is only to say that the public must defend itself and 
that it can easily do by looking at the matter as it would an enter- 
tainment by Hermann and Kellar. Enjoy it and admit that you 

44 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

do not see the secret. It is not easy to see exactly what the trick 
is in all cases. The fact is that no one method is employed, or 
need be employed, in the performance. I have very good evi- 
dence of what parts of it are, but I do not care to expose them 
until serious claims have been made that they are supernormal. 
I desire only to emphasize the fact that persons interested in 
psychic research should not form their conceptions of what some 
of us are interested in by any such performances. They must 
learn that there is but one simple fact to be constantly kept in 
mind regarding the claims of the supernormal. It is that the 
conditions under which phenomena are produced must be under 
the control of a responsible scientific man. They must not be 
determined by the subject exhibiting the phenomena. With that 
criterion one need never be exposed to illusion in the formation 
of his judgment, no matter how illusory his sense perception may 
be. Just assume that it is all an interesting trick and laugh at 
your own discomfiture in not discovering it. The serious con- 
sideration of such phenomena must be stopped except as educa- 
tion in delusions. There will be no intelligent progress in 
psychic research as long as the public runs after such per- 
formances and forms its ideas of what some scientific men are 
seeking by such manifest and simple tricks. The fact is that the 
performance will not compare in interest with the entertain- 
ments of Hermann and Kellar, and these do not profess to be 
more than delightful illusions. 

There is another way of stating the last point made. It is 
that the demand for public illustrations of the supernormal 
always leads to the adventurer's method of simulating it. If the 
public would only cease seriously to consider such performances 
as either interesting, save for the production of illusion, or illus- 
trative of the supernormal, the exhibition would die of itself. It 
will live just so long as people wish to be humbugged in that 
manner, and when the performers are shrewd enough to tell the 
audiences that they are onl)*^ entertaining them the spectators 
must have themselves to blame if they go away astonished. If 
we are to have genuinely interesting psychic phenomena let the 
demand he for really scientific conditions and the production of 
them under circumstances not resembling such performances as 
are here under notice. It ought not to be necessary in this day 
to say this. It would not have been necessary if the scientific 
world had done its duty the last quarter of a century in sifting 
from illusory phenomena having a genuine interest and if it had 
educated the public up to the means of discriminating the genuine 
from the false. Unfortunately the scientific men have allowed 
the public to discover the genuine and then to believe with it the 
fraudulent simulation of it. Consequently the blame for the 
present public credulity and hasty judgment must be shared by 

Incidents. 45 

those who should have been the leaders and educators. But 
whoever is to blame there is no reason to exercise that demand 
which results only in humbugging ourselves. Demand that 
scientific work be done and pay one-fourth as much for that as 
you do for fraud and illusion and you will find something worth 
while. It may not be all that you expect to start with, but it will 
be enough to throw light upon the nature and destiny of man. 
This will never come from public exhibitors. It is in private life 
and in the application of scientific method that we may expect to 
find genuine phenomena whatever their meaning. 



There is a group of psychic phenomena which are well 
worthy of a most searching investigation. I refer to the 
alleged visions which many dying persons are said to have 
had of friends who have passed away before them. In some 
cases they seem to have a coincidental importance that may 
give them some scientific value, if well enough attested as 

It would be natural to suppose that the crisis of death 
would often be attended by all sorts of hallucinations. We 
know how disease and accident lead to deliria in which all 
sorts of hallucinatory experiences occur; and narcotics and 
anaesthetics evoke similar phenomena in various degrees. 
They are but illustrations of influences which disturb the 
normal activity and functions of the organism, so that the 
non-cordination of central functions results in the simulation 
of realities by all sorts of phantasmal forms. Death is a par- 
ticularly disintegrating process and we should expect similar 
mental disturbances in its progress. Usually the motor 
functions are so paralyzed by it that we should expect little 
evidences of sensory phantasms. One way of indicating 
what dying experiences are in any clear manner seems pos- 
sible and that is by speech. When this occurs the subject 
must retain enough of his normal motor activity to give ex- 
pression to his mental experiences. Indistinct indications 
may be given by motor action in the eyes. But what we 
should discover from ocular movements of a dying person 
would be doubtful and possibly capable of various interpre- 

46 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

tations. It would be the same with hearing. But when 
speech is retained enough may be uttered for us to ascertain 
the nature of the experience of the dying person, and occa- 
sionally dying persons utter intelligible sentences which con- 
vey unusual information. It is such that ought to be the 
subject of a very careful investigation. I propose here to 
suggest that a census of them might easily be collected and 
made the subject of statistical study and psychological analy- 

The interest which such phenomena may have for sci- 
ence will depend upon a variety of considerations. The 
first is that we shall be able to attest their existence and their 
nature. The second is that we shall have some reason to 
believe that they have a selective character pertinent to their 
apparent significance. The third is that we shall have some 
means of distinguishing them from those capricious and 
kaleidoscope phenomena that are classifiable as ordinary 
hallucinations. The fourth is that their characteristics shall 
suggest some coincidental incidents not referable to chance 
and at the same time distinguishable from others possibly 
due to subjective causes. It will not be an easy task to con- 
duct such an investigation, but it is possible by long efforts 
and perseverance to accumulate facts enough for some sort 
of study and analysis. The method of effecting this object 
will be the subject of discussion later in this article. We 
must first describe the phenomena to which attention needs 
to be called. 

The phenomena which I have in mind are a type of ap- 
parition. Whatever their explanation they have one char- 
acteristic which distinguishes them from ordinary deliria. 
They represent the appearance of deceased persons to the 
vision, imagination, or other source of sensory representa- 
tion, of the dying person. If we should find that they bear 
evidences in any case of supernormal information they would 
become especially significant. But one of the most import- 
ant things to study in them would be their relation to in- 
stances of hallucination under the same circumstances that 
had no coincidental value. That is, we need to study their 
statistical aspects which would require a comparison of the 

Incidents. 47 

really or apparently coincidental cases with those which are 
unmistakably hallucinatory and subjective in their origin. 
For this a large collection is necessary and this can be made 
without any presumptions regarding their explanation. I 
shall illustrate the kind which are particularly interesting 
and suggestive. They are as described above, instances in 
which dying persons seem to see previously deceased friends 
claiming in cases to be present for the purpose of aiding in 
the passage of death. When this claim of assistance in the 
crisis of death is made it is through mediums and it is some- 
times or generally made when there has been no evidence at 
the death scene that such a presence was remarked. I shall 
give a few illustrations of both kinds. 

The following instance I received from a correspondent 
whose testimony I have no reason to question : 

"I called this afternoon (May 14th, 1906) upon a lady who 
buried a mne-year-old boy two weeks ago. The child had been 
operated upon for appendicitis some two or three years- ago, and 
had had peritonitis at the same time. He recovered, and was 
apparently quite well for a time. Again he was taken sick, and 
from the first the doctor thinks he did not expect to get well. He 
was taken to the hospital, and operated upon. He was perfectly 
rational, recognizing his parents, the doctor, and the nurse, after 
coming out from under the influence of the anaesthetic. Feeling 
that he was going, he asked his mother to hold his hands, until 
he should be gone. He had, I forgot to say, been given strong 
stimulants after the operation, which, I suppose, made his mind 
very active. 

Soon he looked up and said, " Mother, dear, don't you see 
little sister over there?" 

"No, where is she?" 

" Right over there. She is looking at me." 

Then the mother, to pacify him, said she saw the child. In a 
few minutes, his face lighted up full of smiles, and he said : — 

"There comes Mrs. C (a lady of whom he was very 

fond who had died nearly two years before), and she is smiling 
just as she used to. She is smiling and wants me to come." In 
a few moments : — 

" There is Roy ! I'm going to them. I don't want to leave 
you, but you'll come to me soon, won't you ? Open the door and 
let them in. They are waiting for me outside," and he was gone. 

"No, I forgot to tell about his grandmother. I gathered the 

48 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 

impression that he did not know his maternal grandmother, but 
may be wrong. 

As his mother held his hands, he said : " How small you are 
growing. Are you still holding my hands? Grandma is larger 
than you, isn't she? There she is. She is larger, isn't she? 
Her hand is larger than yours. She is holding one hand and her 
hand is larger than yours. 

" Remember that the boy was but nine years old. Did he 
really see spirits and recognize them ? Or was it the result of the 
highly sensitive condition of the brain caused by the medicine? " 

The mother confirms this narrative and inquiry brings 
out the following facts. The boy had never known his 
grandmother who had died twenty years ago. His sister had 
died four years before his own birth. Roy is the name of a 
friend of the child and he had died about a year previous. 

It will be apparent that the instance is not in any respect 
an evidential one. There is no way to displace the assump- 
tion that the phenomena were hallucinations until better in- 
dications of their real nature can be obtained by further in- 
vestigations, if that can ever be done. It is natural to sup- 
pose that the critical condition of the mind and body would 
give rise to these and similar phantasms, especially in certain 
kinds of natures. The natural assumption may not be the 
right one, but it is the only one that science can tolerate until 
its credentials are better satisfied by evidences of the super- 
normal. There is nothing in this instance that can be veri- 
fied as not a natural and subjective effect of the conditions 
associated with dissolution, unless it be the systematic group 
of deceased persons involved. For the physiologist and the 
psychologist this goes without saying, and the mention of it 
here is only to emphasize for the general reader the confident 
opinion which science would entertain regarding such inci- 
dents. Science might not have better evidence that this 
special case is hallucination than the believer in its reality 
has for this character, but the mass of facts in human experi- 
ence connected with abnormal mental and physical conditions 
?sociated with disease and death would predispose any cau- 
ous person in favor of the scientific interpretation as either 
ore probable or more safe an assumption than the one in 
ivor of the other. 

Incidents. 49 

Other cases of a similar nature have come to my atten- 
tion, but I have not yet been able to have a first hand account 
made for me. I remember that my step-mother told me that 
her mother, while dying, saw an apparition of her husband 
who had died many years before. Such incidents are prob- 
ably relatively numerous, but as they are not recorded or 
examined carefully they can only be subjects of sceptical con- 

But I have a group of incidents which are much more 
suggestive of something unusual and possibly quite signifi- 
cant. Some of them involve a record and confirmatory sup- 
port that gives them importance. The first of this group is 
one dictated to me and taken down verbatim by the two 
persons who knew the facts. They are both intelligent and 
trustworthy witnesses, not more liable to errors in such 
things than all of us. It involved circumstances which give 
peculiar value to the incident as the story will vouch for it- 
self. I quote the narrative as I took it down. 

" Four or five weeks before my son's death Mrs. S was 

with me — she was my friend and a psychic — and a message was 
given me that little Bright Eyes (control) would be with my son 
who was then ill with cancer. The night before his death he 
complained that there was a little girl about his bed and asked 
who it was. This was at Muskoka, 160 miles north of Toronto. 

He had not known what Mrs. S had told me. Just before 

his death, about five minutes, he roused, called his nurse for a 
drink of water, and said clearly : " I think they are taking me." 
Afterward seeing the possible significance of this I wrote to Miss 

A and asked her to see Mrs. S and try to find why 

the word " they " was used, underscoring it in the letter, as I 
always supposed the boy's father would be with him at death. 

Miss A went to see Mrs. S , and did not mention the 

letter. When I saw Mrs. S — - — more than a week later we 
were having a sitting and Guthrie, my son, came and told me 
how he died. He said he was lying on the bed and felt he was 
being lifted out of his body and at that point all pain left. His 
first impulse was to get back into his body, but he was being 
drawn away. He was taken up into a cloud and he seemed to be 
a part of it. His feeling was that he was being taken by invisible 
hands into rarified air that was so delightful. He spoke of his 
freedom from pain and said that he saw his father beyond." 

50 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 
The intimate friendship of Mrs. S with Mrs. G- 

the mother of the boy, makes it possible to suppose that 
hints or suggestions may have been unconsciously conveyed 
to the boy before his death or that something was said at the 
experiment which might deprive the incidents of that im- 
portance which thqy superficially seem to have. I have, 
however, observed that the two ladies are as careful in their 
account as we should expect, and while I cannot give the 
narrative as much scientific weight as may be desirable I 
think there is reason to believe that the main incidents are 
correct. The boy's experience of a strange girl at his bedside, 
and the allusion to the plural of the pronoun are quite pos- 
sibly correct accounts of the facts. A record of the later 
sitting would be necessary to be assured that the allusion to 
the father was not in response to a suggestion. But in any 
case the incident is better than, or at least appears to be, 
superior evidentially to the first one quoted, and it indicates 
what may be done to assure ourselves of significance in such 

I quote next a well authenticated instance on the au- 
thority of Dr. Minot J. Savage. He records it in his Psychic 
Facts and Theories. He also told me personally of the facts 
and gave me the names and addresses of the persons on 
whose authority he tells the incidents. I am not permitted 
to mention them. But the story is as follows : 

" In a neighboring city were two little girls, Jennie and Edith, 
one about eight years of age, and the other but a little older. 
They were schoolmates and intimate friends. In June, 1889, 
both were taken ill of diphtheria. At noon on Wednesday, Jen- 
nie died. Then the parents of Edith, and her physician as well, 
took particular pains to keep from her the fact that her little 
playmate was gone. They feared the effect of the knowledge on 
her own condition. To prove that they succeeded and that she 
did not know, it may be mentioned that on Saturday, June 8th, at 
noon, just before she became unconscious of all that was passing 
about her, she selected two of her photographs to be sent to Jen- 
nie, and also told her attendants to bid her goodbye. 

" She died at half-past six o'clock on the evening of Saturday, 
June 8th. She had roused and bidden her friends goodbye, and 
was talking of dying, and seemed to have no fear. She appeared 
to see one and another of the friends she knew were dead. So 

Incidents. 51 

far it was like the common cases. But now suddenly, and with 
every appearance of surprise, she turned to her father, and 
exclaimed, ' Why, papa, I am going to take Jennie with me ! ' 
Then she added, ' Why, papa ! Why, papa ! You did not tell 
me that Jennie was here ! ' And immediately she reached out 
her arms as if in welcome, and said, * O, Jennie, I'm so glad you 
are here." 

As Dr. Savage remarks in connection with the story, it 
is not so easy to account for this incident by the ordinary 
theory of hallucination. We have to suppose a casual co- 
incidence at the same time, and while we should have to sup- 
pose this for any isolated case like the present one the multi- 
plication of them, with proper credentials, would suggest 
some other explanation, whatever it might be. 

I shall turn next to two instances which are associated 
with the experiments and records of Mrs. Piper. They both 
represent the allegation of death-bed apparitions, and state- 
ments through Mrs. Piper purporting to represent commu- 
nications from the deceased showing a coincidence with what 
was otherwise known or alleged to have taken place at the 
crisis of death. The records in these cases are unusually 
good, having been made by Dr. Richard Hodgson. I quote 
his reports. The first instance is the experience of a man 
who gives only initials for his name, but was well known to 
Dr. Hodgson. It occurred at a sitting with Mrs. Piper. 

" About the end of March of last year (1888) I made her (Mrs. 
Piper) a visit — having been in the habit of doing so, since early in 
February, about once a fortnight. She told me that a death of a 
near relative of mine would occur in about six weeks, from which 
I should realize some pecuniary advantages. I naturally thought 
of my father, who was in advanced years, and whose description 
Mrs. Piper had given me very accurately some week or two 
previously. She had not spoken of him as my father, but merely 
as a person nearly connected with me. I asked her at this sitting 
whether this person was the one who would die, but she declined 
to state anything more clearly to me. My wife, to whom I was 
then engaged, went to see Mrs. Piper a few days afterward, and 
she told her (my wife) that my father would die in a few weeks. 

About the middle of May my father died very suddenly in 
London from heart failure, when he was recovering from a very 
slight attack of bronchitis, and the very day that his doctor had 
pronounced him out of danger. Previous to this Mrs. Piper (as 

52 JourncU of the American Society for Psychical Research, 

Dr. Phinuit) had told me that she would endeavor to influence 
my father about certain matters connected with his will before 
he died. Two days after I received the cable announcing his 
death my wife and I went to see Mrs. Piper, and she (Phinuit) 
spoke of his presence, and his sudden arrival in the spirit world, 
and said that he (Dr. Phinuit) had endeavored to persuade him 
in these matters while my father was sick. Dr. Phinuit told me 
the state of the will, and described the principal executor, and 
said that he (the executor) would make a certain disposition in 
my favor, subject to the consent of the other two executors when 
I got to London, England. Three weeks afterward I arrived in 
London ; found the principal executor to be the man Dr. Phinuit 
had described. The will went materially as he (Dr. Phinuit) had 
stated. The disposition was made in my favor, and my sister, 
who was chiefly at my father's bedside the last three days of his 
life, told me had repeatedly complained of the presence of an old 
man at the foot of his bed, who annoyed him by discussing his 
private aflfairs." 

The reader will remark that the incident is associated 
with a prediction, but it is not the subject of important ob- 
servation at present. The chief point of interest is that the 
prediction is connected with a reference to a will affecting 
private business matters, that the sister reported a number of 
visions or apparitions on the man's death-bed, and that sub- 
sequent to his death, not known apparently to Mrs. Piper, the 
statement was made by Phinuit that he had influenced or 
tried to persuade the man in reference to these matters. The 
coincidence is unmistakable and the cause is suggested by 
the very nature of the phenomena and the conditions under 
which they occurred. But we should have a large mass of 
such incidents to give the hypothesis something like scientific 

The next case is a most important one. It is connected 

with an experiment by Dr. Hodgson with Mrs. Piper, as was 

•he previous one, and came out as an accidental feature of 

le sitting. The account is associated in his report with in- 

idents quoted by him in explanation of the difficulty and 

infusion accompanying real or alleged communications 

roni the dead. It will be useful to quote the Report on that 

potnl before narrating the incident itself as the circumstances 

lOciated with the facts are important in the understanding 

Incidents. 53 

of the case, while they also suggest a view of the phenomena 
which may explain the rarity of them. 

"That persons 'just deceased,'" says Dr. Hodgson, "should 
be extremely confused and unable to communicate directly, or 
even at all, seems perfectly natural after the shock and wrench of 
death. Thus in the case of Hart, he was unable to write the 
second day after death. In another case a friend of mine, whom 
I may call D., wrote, with what appeared to be much difficulty, his 
name and the words, ' I am all right now. Adieu,' within two or 
three days of his death. In another case, F., a near relative of 
Madame Elisa, was unable to write on the morning after his 
death. On the second day after, when a stranger was present 
with me for a sitting, he wrote two or three sentences, saying, ' I 
am too weak to articulate clearly,' and not many days later he 
wrote fairly well and clearly, and dictated to Madame Elisa (de- 
ceased), as amanuensis, an account of his feelings at finding him- 
self in his new surroundings." 

In a footnote Dr. Hodgson adds an account of what this 
Madame Elisa communicated regarding the man. I quote 
this in full. Referring to this F. and Madame Elisa, he 
says : — 

" The notice of his death was in a Boston paper, and I hap- 
pened to see it on my way to the sitting. The first writing of 
the sitting came from Madame Elisa, without my expecting it. 
She wrote clearly and strongly, explaining that F. was there with 
her, but unable to speak directly, that she wished to give me an 
account of how she had helped F. to reach her. She said that 
she had been present at his death-bed, and had spoken to him, 
and she repeated what she had said, an unusual form of expres- 
sion, and indicated that he had heard and recognized her. This 
was confirmed in detail in the only way possible at the time, by 
a very intimate friend of Madame Elisa and myself, and also of 
the nearest surviving relative of F. I showed my friend the 
account of the sitting, and to this friend a day or two later, the 
relative, who was present at the death-bed, stated spontaneously 
that F., when dying said that he saw Madame Elisa, who was 
speaking to him, and he repeated what she was saying. The 
expression so repeated, which the relative quoted to my friend, 
was that which I had received from Madame Elisa through Mrs. 
Piper's trance, when the death-bed incident was of course 
entirely unknown to me." 

The apparent significance of such a coincidence is evi- 

54 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

dent and though the entire number which I have quoted are 
not sufficient to afford alone the proof of survival after death 
they are indicative of events wrhich demand a most careful 
investigation. If there be such a thing as a transcendental 
spiritual world and if we actually survive in our personality 
after death we might naturally expect some connection be- 
tween the two sets of cosmic conditions, at least occasionally, 
supposing, of course, that the chasm between them is not too 
great to be spanned. The existence of a large mass of facts 
alleging such a connection, though these facts are relatively 
few in comparison with the cases of silence regarding the 
beyond, is a circumstance which would suggest searching 
for incidents during the passage of death that might repre- 
sent a rare connection between the two worlds in this critical 
period. We could not expect them to be frequent a priori 
but we should not expect two worlds, closely enough related 
for the individual to retain his identity, to wholly exclude 
communications in articulo mortis. If anything like it actu- 
ally appeared to occur we should endeavor to ascertain how 
much evidence exists for the credibility of the occurrence in 
sufficiently numerous cases to establish the truth of the 
actual connection, or to confirm other types of incident point- 
ing toward the same conclusion. The phenomena are too 
suggestive in many ways to leave their occurrence unnoticed 
and uninvestigated. 

The object, therefore, in calling attention to the incidents 
which I think impressive enough to urge an organized effort 
to certify a larger number of them, if this be possible. What 
is urged, therefore, is that efforts be made to report for 
record all the death-bed visions and utterances that may 
possibly bear upon the issue suggested in such as we have 
quoted. I would propose that all members of the Society 
report or ask to have reported all such experiences as have 
come under their notice. In this way a census of them can 
at least be initiated. To this method I hope to add some 
means of inducing physicians in their private practice to be 
on the watch for them and to report them to the proper 
persons. We may ultimately induce physicians in the 
hospitals to instruct nurses and officers to make observations 

Incidents, 55 

and to record all experiences of an hallucinatory character or 
otherwise. In any case they will be rare, but on one side or 
the other of the issue there is no other way to give our con- 
victions a scientific character. 

The cases which I have mentioned show interesting coin- 
cidences and are too suggestive to disregard the opportunity 
to collect similar instances with a view to their study in 
detail. We must expect the largest number of them to be 
non-evidential, that is, to represent facts which are not veri- 
fiable in respect of the other side. But if they can be 
obtained in sufficient numbers to exclude chance in respect 
of the persons said to appear in such apparitions we may have 
a scientific product. To exclude chance we need to compare 
them with visions that do not represent the discarnate as 
thus appearing, but that may be treated as casual halluci- 
nations. Hence we shall want to take account of all types of 
dying experiences as observed by the living. It will be 
especially important to have records from those who were 
thought to be very ill or dying and recovered who may 
describe peculiar experiences in conditions bordering on 
death. It is therefore hoped that members and readers will 
call attention to any such cases that may have come within 
their knowledge and to aid in securing a record of them. 
The extension of the inquiry to hospitals and asylums will 
require time and such interest as physicians may be induced 
to take in collecting data for study. But a good beginning 
can be made independently of the more organized effort to 
obtain records. The present article is simply an appeal for 
assistance in an important investigation. The interesting 
incidents quoted seem to be inexplicable by chance and a 
large number of similar cases would more certainly exclude 
it from consideration. 



The following experience is especially interesting because 
it does not superficially suggest its explanation. It is from 
a young lady whom I know personally as well as the other 

56 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

members of her family. There can be no doubt about the 
trustworthiness of the lady's statements regarding her 
experience as she remembers it. What its source is may be 
left to any one who wishes to conjecture it. The contents 
of it do not place it beyond a hallucinatory production of her 
subconscious mental action. Her studies had included the 
matter which was thus reproduced, and the interesting cir- 
cumstance is the resourcefulness of the subliminal conscious- 
ness, if such it be, in recalling and reproducing in this hal- 
lucinatory manner knowledge which could not find recall in 
the ordinary way. An important point of interest is the fact 
that nearly two years later the lady suddenly developed 
automatic writing of a most interesting character. 

July 1st, 1905. 

" One day in the Fall of the year 1903, I went into Roman 
History Class at School without having looked at my lesson. I 
was not in the habit of bluffing, so when the teacher called upon 
me to answer a question I rose to my feet and commenced to say : 
' I do not know my lesson today,' when suddenly on the black- 
board behind me appeared in red letters the answer to the ques- 
tion. I hesitated and then read aloud what was written on the 
Board. It proved to be the correct answer. The red letters did 
not look like chalk, but like ink. This occurred several times 
during the year, but only in this one subject, Roman History. 

" In the spring of the year 1905 in Vergil Class I was sent to 
the Board to translate fifteen consecutive lines of Vergil. Now I 
knew only the first five lines. So I commenced bravely. At 
about the fifth line I hesitated. I did not know what to write 
next, and there seemed to be writing on the board below, so to 
gain time till the dismissing bell should ring, I asked the teacher 
if I might erase this writing : I said, ' May I erase the board 
clear?* She answered: 'There is nothing there. It is clean. 
Go on with the translation.' I looked at her astonished. * The 
writing,' I said, pointing to it. She said : ' Don't be silly, there is 
no writing there.' The girls were beginning to smile and look at 
me, so I said nothing more, but turned to my translation. I 
finished the fifth line. The queer writing was in the way. I 
stared at it. It seemed to be a translation of the next ten lines of 
Vergil which I was supposed to write, but did not know. The 
writing looked like white chalk and was in a very slanting hand. 
Now I wrote a decidedly back hand at the time. I took my own 
chalk and traced over this writing. Then at last the teacher 
seemed to see the writing. She read over the translation, said : 

Incidents. 57 

' You are improving, Anna/ and added : ' Why didn't you write it 
all alike? It looks terribly. The first five lines are back hand 
and the rest slant towards the right.' " 

A B- 



Whenever I take a long ride in the open air, if it is a new 
experience in comparison with my indoor and sedentary habits, 
the ride makes me very sleepy and if I am free to do so I allow 
myself to take a restful nap. But I am sometimes in a position 
where courtesy requires me at least to try to keep awake. Today 
(August 4th, 1906) I was coming from Westport to Hurricane in 
the Adirondacks on a stage with a lady whose acquaintance I had 
made a few hours before on Lake George, both happening to be 
going much of the way together. We were talking about psychic 
research matters and as usual I became very sleepy. I did not 
feel free to let myself go off and tho I was not in any way bored 
by my company, I resolved to arrest all temptations to even feel 
sleepy. But it was in vain. My eyelids became so heavjr that, 
to rest them, I closed them and when I opened them again in a 
few moments, perhaps not longer than five or ten seconds, I 
found that I could not recall the subject about which I was talk- 
ing and had to stumble about with general remarks to avoid dis- 
covery. This occurred three times. An interesting feature of 
the experience was the fact that I did not really go wholly to 
sleep during these few seconds. I was perfectly conscious of 
having my eyes closed, of the surrounding country, and of myself 
as in the midst of conversation. My introspective and inner con- 
sciousness was perfectly wide awake, and the closing of my eyes, 
instead of tending to put me into a deeper sleep, seemed rather 
to tend to help keeping me awake. But there was total amnesia 
of what I was talking about and I could not recall the incidents 
for some time and only after great effort. 

Apparently in these circumstances the thoughts which occu- 
pied my mind and conversation were of the visual type and any 
interruption of the normal visual centers threw the mental 
images into oblivion while the main central consciousness 
remained active and normal. The fact, if thus rightly inter- 
preted, may throw light upon the relation between a general 
stream of consciousness and its inability to recall at pleasure the 
sensory experience which may be necessary for manifesting its 


58 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

Hurricane, N. Y., Sept. 3d, 1906. 
While talking with a friend today, I became again very sleepy 
and not feeling the duty to resist it so vigorously as in the case 
narrated above I closed my eyes as in the previous experience. 
It was but for a moment and the amnesia which I experienced 
before was repeated, but I did not remain distinctly conscious 
during the short moment of sleep which this time occurred. The 
amnesia, however, did not remain long. I actually slept for a 
few seconds and on awakening I could recall in a few moments 
what I was thinking about. The dissociation of my thoughts 
was not so complete as in the instance of August 4th, and prob- 
ably this was due to the fact that there was real sleep for a few 
seconds. Consequently the waking state enabled me easily to 
recall my previous thoughts, as the break with attention was not 
so distinct as in the earlier case and as the different sensory 
functions were probably not dissociated as they were when I 
retained consciousness and allowed the visual functions to sus- 
pend their activity. This, of course, is largely conjecture, and I 
tolerate it only to suggest a problem at psvchological analysis. 



The following is an incident which would probably have been 
taken as an instance of clairvoyance unless the circumstances 
under which it occurred had not been at once determined. I 
had asked my Secretary yesterday to address a number of 
envelopes and then to make out some bills. While writing out 
the bills she wrote the name J. B. Jones and without turning over 
the paper wrote the next name, Charles S. Florence, which was 
concealed below the first sheet of paper and was not visible in 
any way. I carefully examined this at the time, and found it 
impossible to detect the slightest trace of the name or letters 
through the sheet by normal vision. But if we were to suppose 
that the phenomenon was due to anything like supernormal 
vision we should do so without recognizing a most important 
circumstance which would have been quickly forgotten had not 
notice been taken of it at once, when my Secretary called atten- 
tion to the coincidence at the time. This circumstance makes it 
necessary to show that the description of the phenomenon as 
given above is not exactly complete. 

When I asked that the envelopes be addressed it was my 
intention that the bills should be made out afterward and 
enclosed independently. But after a number of the envelopes 
had been addressed it occurred to me that it would save time and 
confusion if the bills were made out simultaneously, as the same 

Book Reviews. 59 

names were concerned. I therefore suggested that, before going 
any farther with addressing of the envelopes, the bills should be 
made out for those addressed. The result was that the cards 
from which the addresses were taken were simply turned upside 
down to take them in the same order in which the addresses had 
been written. The consequence was that when the name J. B. 
Jones was written memory could easily influence the recall of 
Charles S. Florence. The second writing of the two names was 
but half an hour later than the first writing. The lady did not 
notice that memory had figured in the phenomenon, but recog- 
nized that this was its explanation. It was probably a subcon- 
scious act which left no traces in the normal consciousness of 
the influence which gave the act an apparently clairvoyant char- 
acter. Had not my attention been called to it immediately and 
had two hours elapsed when I could not have examined the exact 
conditions of its occurrence it would have been or appeared inex- 
phcable by any ordinary means. 
Oct loth. 1906. JAMES H. HYSLOP. 


Beside the New-Made Grave: A Correspondence. By F. H. 
Turner, Boston. James H. West Company, 1906. pp. 170. 

This little book is an attempt to prove a future life or the 
immortality of the soul from the various doctrines of science and 
philosophy. It is written in the form of letters purporting to be 
between a mother who has lost a son and one who endeavors to 
prove survival after death as a means of offering consolation to 
a bereaved mother. The book is soberly conceived and written 
in the best spirit of modern science and philosophy. There is 
no attempt to run off into the usual vagaries of those who con- 
fuse pseudo-science with the real thing. The author has a fair 
acquaintance with the problems and doctrines of modern thought 
and keeps well within their limits and does not touch upon the 
methods of psychic research, tho the concluding part of the book 
touches upon an idea which the psychic researcher may have to 
reckon with in the near future, namely, that of the etherial or 
" spiritual body." All the rest of it, however, does not go beyond 
the recognized postulates and theories of physical science, and 
makes its appeal to these for a belief which its advocates usually 
deny. Both the merits and the weakness of the book consist in 
this characteristic. Its merit is that it makes an ad hominem 
appeal for a future life ; its weakness is that the appeal cannot be 
stronger than the conjectures that rest upon this foundation of 
physical fact. The conservation of energy and the indestructi- 
bility of matter are not in any respect an evidence of the survival 

6o Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

of human consciousness. They may be reasons for raising the 
question, but not for solving it. Besides there is as yet no clear 
idea of the relation or conservation to the problem. In one of 
its conceptions it is wholly unrelated to it and in the other the 
doctrine is so doubtful as to make it worthless on either side of 
the issue. We have first to make clear what we mean by the 
conservation of energy other than the mere facts which it is sup- 
posed to explain before we can say whether it has any bearing 
on the question of a future life. 

Another point on which the author relies is also effective 
enough as an ad hominem argument. It is the doctrine that 
there are " psychical waves " concomitant with the nerve waves 
and this idea is supposed to guarantee the existence of some other 
subject than the brain for the explanation of consciousness. 
Consequently, this assumed, there goes with it the notion of a 
" soul " capable of surviving death. The doctrine is the old one 
of parallelism and assumes that consciousness is not a function of 
the brain unless it is reducible to* nerve waves. This, in the 
critic's opinion, is an illusion and will be inexcusable if " psychical 
waves " are assumed, as " waves " of any kind can be supposed 
to have their basis in the organism. But the school that insists 
on supposing this concomitance of consciousness with physical 
or neural action and the distinctness of its nature from the 
physical will have a problem of a certain kind that requires a 
solution somewhat different from what is suggested by the con- 
servation of energy. Hence it is legitimate to use its conces- 
sions, whether consciously or unconsciously made, to support a 
conclusion which they have not seen to be a necessity, at least an 
apparent one. But the sceptic's position will be to demand 
evidence for "psychical waves" and I must say that I do not 
know any evidence whatever for such things. When the 
physiologist or psychologist who believes in them supplies this 
evidence it will be time to treat the matter more seriously. In 
the meantime there is no harm in drawing conclusions from his 

Whatever we may think of the argument in this little book, 
I have no doubt that it will be a helpful one to many persons 
who think and do not depend upon their emotions. There is one 
pathetic feature in it that deserves notice. The bereaved mother 
is made to say in reply to the first letter of consolation and argu- 
ment: " I have been so immersed in practical affairs as to have 
no leisure for matters which in their nature seemed rather of 

?)eculative and future than of practical and present interest." 
his is just the trouble with all philosophic speculations. The 
practical affairs of life give no time for mastering them and they 
have no weight without this mastery. Some proof of a future 
life needs to be obtained which represents an appeal to facts 

List of Members of American Society for Psychical Research. 6i 

rather than to scientific and philosophic theories of an abstruse 
type. The latter are effective with the intelligent classes who 
can understand them, but they have the limitations of all specu- 
lative doctrines. 






Mr. B. R. Banning, 2434 Hillside Ave., Berkeley, Calif. 

Mr. N. H. Bishop, Crawford Road & 82d St., Cleveland, Ohio. 

Mrs. W. H. Bliss, 6 East 6sth St., New York City. 

John I. D. Bristol, Metropolitan Building, i Madison Ave., 

New York City. 
Mr. Ernest N. Brown, care Halstead & Co., 304-12 17th St., 

Jersey City, New Jersey. 
Rev. Howard N. Brown, 295 Beacon St., Boston, Mass. 
Mrs. Samuel R. Brown, 2501 Forman St., Omaha, Neb. 
Mrs. C. M. Chadbourne, 37 Madison Ave., New York City. 
Mr. T. B. Clatworthy, 93 Chambers St., New York City. 
Miss Olivia T. Closson, 1359 Columbia Road, Washington, 

D. C. 
Mrs. Esther L. Coffin, 550 Park Ave., New York City. 
Mr. R. R. Colgate, 100 William St., New York City. 
Mr. Robert Colgate, 59 William St., New York City. 
Mr. J. T. Coolidge, 114 Beacon St., Boston, Mass. 
Rear- Admiral P. H. Cooper, Morristown, New Jersey. 
Mr. William S. Crandall, 253 Broadway, New York City. 
Mr. John Finnigan, care Hotel Brazos, Houston, Texas. 
Mr. John M. Forbes, Morristown, New Jersey. 
Lyman J. Gage, Point Loma, Calif. 

Mrs. George Gillies, 180 St. George St., Toronto, Canada. 
Mrs. Bryant B. Glenny, Sheffield, Mass. 
Mr. Arthur Goadby, 21 West 35th St., New York. 
Mr. James Hartness, Springfield, Vermont. 
Mr. Charles M. Higgins, 279 Ninth St., Brooklyn, New York. 
Miss Mary K. Hillard, St. Margaret's School, Waterbury, 

Mr. Anton G. Hodenpyl, 7 Wall St., New York City. 
Mr. Walter C. Hubbard, 138 W. 74th St., New York City. 
James H. Hyslop, 519 W. 149th St., New York City. 
Mr. Noble B. Judah, 2701 Prairie Ave., Chicago, 111. 
Mr. Werner Kaufmann, 45 North 7th St., Philadelphia, Pa. 


62 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 

Mr. Emil V. Kohnstamm, Hotel Endicott, Columbus Ave. & 
8ist St., New York City. 

Miss Elizabeth Lawton, 550 Park Ave., New York City. 

Mr. C. Lombardi, care Dallas News, Dallas, Texas. 

Mr. G. Lewis Meyer, 1831 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, Pa. 

Rev. R. Heber Newton, Easthampton, Long Island. 

Mrs. R. Heber Newton, Easthampton, Long Island. 

Mr. Edward W. Parker, suite 14, The Lexington, 175 Lex- 
ington Ave., New York City. 

Mrs. Stanhope Philips, 19 East 38th St., New York City. 

Miss Theodate Pope, Farmington, Conn. 

Mr. E. E. Pray, River & Ward Sts., Hackensack, New Jersey. 

Mr. Charles Robinson Smith, 34 W. 69th St., New York City. 

Mr. Thomas Curran Ryan, 427 Prospect Ave., Merrill, Wis. 

Mr. de Bevoise Schenck, Ridgefield, Conn. 

Mrs. de Bevoise Schenck, Ridgefield, Conn. 

Mr. A. Van Deusen, 74th St. & Central Park West, New 
York City. 

Mrs. Henry Wolcott Warner, 62 East 67th St., New York 

Mrs. W. G. Webb, 40 Avenue Henri Martin, Paris, France. 

Mr. Charles Hill Willson, 104 South Ave., Mount Vernon, 
New York. 

Mr. Isaac H. Wing, Bayfield, Wis. 

Mrs. Emma D. Woodhouse, Manhattan Hotel,- N. Y. City. 

Mrs. Julia A. H. Worthington, 4 West 40th St., New York 


Mr. David Abbott, 205 Neville Block, Omaha, Neb. 

Miss Evangeline S. Adams, 402 Carnegie Hall, 57th St. & 
7th Ave., New York City. 

Dr. Geo. S. Adams, Westborough, Mass. 

Rev. T. E. Allen, Jamestown, New York. 

Mr. George Armisted, Maryland Club, Baltimore, Md. 

Horace J. Atwater, Norfolk, New York. 

Mrs. Marshall L. Bacon, Tarrytown, New York. 

Mr. Joseph P. Bailey, P. O. Box 266, Philadelphia, Pa. 

Miss Hannah M. Barbour, Wyoming, Rhode Island. 

Dn William N. Barnhardt, 105 Wood St., Toronto, Canada. 

Dr. Weston D. Bay ley. Cor. isth & Poplar Sts., Philadel- 
phia, Pa. 

Dr. E. P. Beadles, Danville, Vir. 

Prof. W. R. Benedict, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, 

Mrs. W. H. Bigler, 235 W. 76th St., New York City. 

List of Members of American Society for Psychical Research. 63 

Miss Mary Blair, Care Monroe & Co., 7 Rue Scribe, Paris, 

Mr. Henry W. Blodgett, 506 Equitable Building, St. Louis, 

Mr. Charles L. Bogle, 146 West 104th St., New York City. 
Mrs. Louise Aguste Bourne, The Touraine, New York City. 
Mrs. John B. Bouton, 21 Craigie St., Cambridge, Mass. 
Mr. Nathaniel J. Brittain, Pacific Union Club, San Fran- 
cisco, Calif. 
Mr. George D. Broomell, 496 West Monroe St., Chicago, 111. 
Mr. W. H. Caldwell, 306 Western Union Bldg., Chicago, 111. 
Miss Alice C. Carpenter, 16 Kennard Road, Brookline, Mass. 
Mr. E. H. Carpenter, Castine, Maine. 

Mr. Hereward Carrington, 793 Amsterdam Ave., New York. 
Mr. W. E.. Clark, Parker, South Dakota. 
Mr. George W. Clawson, care Clawson, Strean Co., Kansas 

City, Mo. 
Rev. Willis M. Cleaveland, Millinocket, Maine. 
Mr. A. B. Coffin, Winchester, Mass. 
Dr. Hills Cole, 1748 Broadway, New York. 
Mrs. Gertrude P. Coombs, 18 East 58th St., New York City. 
Mr. Wm. Edmond Curtis, 27 West 47th St., New York City. 
Mr. James Dangerfield, Hartford, Conn. 
Mr. William Danmar, 5 McAuley Place, Jamaica, Long Is- 
land, New York. 
Judge Abram H. Dailey, 16 Court St., Brooklyn, N. Y. 
James Dangerfield, 307 West 29th St., New York City. 
William Danmar, 5 McAulay Place, Jamaica, L. I., N. Y. 

Mrs. Henry C. Davis, 1822 Pine St., Philadelphia, Pa. 

Mr. Milse Menander Dawson, 76 William St., New York City. 

Hon. Wm. M. O. Dawson, Charleston, West Virginia. 

Lieut.-Col. George McC. Derby, U. S. Engineer Office, St. 
Paul, Minn. 

Mr. Hasket Derby, 182 Marlborough St., Boston, Mass. 

Mr. James W. Donaldson, Ellenville, N. Y. 

Mrs. Charles Duggin, 25 E. 38th St., New York City. 

First Spiritual Church, 215 Milton Ave., Baltimore, Md. 

Mr. C. A. Ensign, 503 Mahoning Ave., Youngstown, Ohio. 

Mr. Irving Fisher, 460 Prospect St., New Haven, Conn. 

Mr. Wm. King Fisher, 511 West I52d St., New York. 

Mr. Charles S. Florence, Asotin, Wash. 

Mrs. H. C. Fogle, 925 Cleveland Ave., Canton, Ohio. 

Mr. William Fortune, 154 Woodruff Ave., Indianapolis, Ind. 

Mr. J. R. Francis, 40 Loomis St., Chicago, 111. 

Mr. Isaac K. Funk, care Funk & Wagnalls, 44-60 East 23d 
St., N. Y. 

Mr. H. P. N. Gammel, Austin, Texas. 

64 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

Prof. H. Norman Gardiner, Northampton, Mass. 
Mr. J. H. Gardner, i8 Grays Hall, Cambridge, Mass. 
Mr. M. T. Garvin, Lancaster, Pa. 

Mr. William A. Gifford, St. Louis Mercantile Library Associ- 
ation, St. Louis, Mo. 
Mr. W. Howard Gilmour, 763 Broad St., Newark, N. J. 
Mr. F. H. Goldthwait, Springfield, Mass. 
Miss Florence H. Goodfellow, Room 611, 42 Broadway, New 

Mr. Henry G. Gray, 161 Madison Ave., New York City 
Dr. L. V. Guthrie, West Virginia Asylum, Huntington, W. 

Dr. Daniel S. Hager, 181 W. Madison St., Chicago, 111. 
Mr. H. P. Hanson, Box 39 R. F. D. Route 5, Harlan, Iowa. 
Mr. J. M. Harman, Millville, Pa. 
Dr. H. J. Harnly, McPherson, Kansas. 
Miss Cornelia Hartshorn, Milton, Mass. 
Mr. Charles H. Hartshorne, Montclair, N. J. 
Mr. Henry Haubens, 1547 North 20th St., Omaha, Neb. 
Mrs. W. Hauxhurst, care Messrs. Morgan Harjes & Co., 31 

Boulevard Haussman, Paris, France. 
Mr. Henry W. Haynes, 239 Beacon St., Boston, Mass. 
Mr. John Arthur Hill, Wensley Bank, Thornton, Bradford, 

Rev. Newell Dwight Hillis, 31 Grace Court, Brooklyn, N. Y. 
Mrs. A. Stewart Holt, 224 W. I32d St., New York. 
Mr. George W. Hunter, St. Louis, Mo. 
Prof. Wm. James, 95 Irving St., Cambridge, Mass. 
Mr. David Jameson, Citizens National Bank, New Castle, Pa. 
Mr. G. W. Johnson, Lawrence Saving & Trust Co., New 

Castle, Pa. 
Mr. Charles N. Jones, Equitable Bldg., 120 Broadway, New 

York City. 
Henrietta O. Jones, The Sevillia, 58th St. & 6th Ave., New 

York City. 
Mr. J. B. Jones, Asotin, Wash. 

Miss Hannah P. Kimball, 350 Otis St., West Newton, Mass. 
Rev. Stanley L. Krebs, 845 Hinman Ave., Evanston, 111. 
Miss Elizabeth Lawton, 550 Park Ave., N. Y. City. 
Mrs. R. F. H. Ledyard, Cazenovia, N. Y. 
Mr. J. S. Leith, Nevada, Ohio. 
Dr. A. D. Leonard, 27 E. 30th St., New York City. 
Mrs. Rose Levere, 321 W. 94th St., New York City. 
Mrs. H. L. Luscomb, 41 Ashforth St., Allston, Mass. 
Mrs. Eugene Macauley, 319 West 90th St., New York City. 
Rev. J. A. Marquis, Beaver, Pa. 
Dr. M. C. Marrs, Caro, Texas. 

List of Members of American Society for Psychical Research. 65 

Earl H. Mayne, 139 Bay 17th St., Brooklyn, N. Y. 

Mrs. R. M. C. Meredith, Cedarhurst, Long Island, N. Y. • 

I. Meyer, 2028 N. Park Ave., Philadelphia, Pa. 

Alex. McVeigh Miller, Alderson, West Virginia. 

Minneapolis Athenaeum, Minneapolis, Minn. 

Charles M. Minus, 441 W. 47th St., New York City. 

Miss Jennie B. Moore, 335 W. S7th St., N. Y. City. 

Edward L. Morris, R. D. Station 3, Norwich, Conn. 

Prof. William R. Newbold, University of Pennsylvania, 
Philadelphia, Pa. 

Mrs. J. E. Newell, West Mentor, Ohio. 

Louis W. Oakes, Bradford, Pa. 

Louis Odio, 2955 Rodriquez Pena, Buenos Ayres, Argentine 

Mrs. W. S. Overton, 560 Greene Ave., Brooklyn, N. Y. 

Daniel E. Parks, 615 DuBois St., West Hoboken, N. J. 

Mr. Orville Peckham, First National Bank, Chicago, 111. 

Dr. J. M. Peebles, care U. S. Consul, Calcutta, India. 

Mr. Sidney B. Perkins, 142 Meigs St., Rochester, N. Y. 

Mr. William B. Perkins, The Chelsea, 222 W. 23d St., New 

Mrs. W. B. Perkins, The Chelsea, 222 W. 23d St., New York. 

Mr. Albion A. Perry, 5 Forster St., Somerville, Mass. 

Mr. Thomas A. Phelan. 107 West 76th St., New York City. 
Miss Margaret G. Philipse, 119 E. 21st St., New York. 
Mr. Clifford Pinchot, 1615 Rhode Island Ave., Washing- 
ton, D. C. 
Mrs. William Post, Buchannon, W. Virginia. 
Mrs. H. A. Potter, 95 Harrison St., East Orange, N. j! 
Miss Irene Putnam, Bennington, Vt. 
Mr. Josiah Phillips Quincy, 82 Charles St., Boston, Mass. 
Mr. J. A. R. Ramsdell, Newburgb, N. Y. 
Mr. M. T. Richardson, 27 Park Place, N. Y. 
Miss Anne Mannering Robbins, 91 Newberry St., Boston, 

Dr. W. L. Robinson, 753 Main St., Danville, Virginia. 
Mr. A. N. Roe, Br^nchville, N. Y. 
Mrs. E. R. Satterlee, 60 East 78th St., New York. 
Mr. Luther R. Sawin, Mt. Kisco Laboratory, Mt. Kisco, N. Y. 
Mr. William Schuyler, McKinley High School, St. Louis, Mo. 
Mr. W. A. Scott, 99 Notredame St., Montreal Canada. 
Mrs. Kate Sharp, Dresdner Bank, Prager Strasse, Dresden, 

Mr. George H. Shattuck. Medina, N. Y. 
Mr. Elbert E. Smith, Record Building, Kansas City, Mo. 
Mr. Ralph P. Smith, 1627 Douglas St., Sioux City, Iowa. 
Mrs. Esther B. Steele, 352 W. Clinton St., Elmira, N. Y. 

66 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 

Dr. Henry M. Stokes, Bureau of Standards, Washington, I 
D. C. I 

Mrs. Courtlandt Taylor, 226 W. 70th St., N. Y. 1 

Mrs. J. B. Taylor, Watertown, N. Y. 

Mr. Geo. A. Thacher, 863 Bootwick St., Portland, Ore. 

Mrs. G. W. Thompson, Connellsville, Pa. 

Mrs. Robert J. Thompson, 195 Wabash Ave., Chicago, 111. 

Mr. R. T. Trimble, New Vienna, Ohio. 

Mrs. Elizabeth Trowbridge, 18 Huntington Ave., Boston, 

Mr. Herbert B. Turner, 683 Atlantic Ave., Boston, Mass. 

Mr. James H. Tuttle, Croton-on-Hudson, N. Y. 

Mrs. Moses Coit Tyler, University Place, Ithaca, N. Y. 

Mr. Samuel T. Tyson, King of Prussia, Pa. 

Mr. H. S. Van Deren, Nashville, Tenn. 

Mr. A. Van Deusen, 74th St. & Central Park West, N. Y. 

Rev. Charles Van Norden, D. D., LL.D., East Auburn, Cal. 

Mrs. H. G. Wadley, 265 Prospect Ave., Mount Vernon, N. Y. 

Mrs. Harry Watrous, 352 Lexington Ave., New York. 

Mr. Arthur R. Wendell, 412 West 12th St., New York. 

Mr. David Wesson, 11 1 South Mountain Ave., Montclair, 
New Jersey. 

Mr. R. R. Whitehead, Woodstock, Ulster Co., N. Y. 

Mr. Charles W. Williams, Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio. 

Mr. Franklin A. Wilcox, 933 Madison Ave., New York City. 

Dr. Dunning S. Wilson, 1700 Brook St., Louisville, Ky. 

Mrs. C. R. Wood, 440 West End Ave., New York City. 


Mr. Hartley B. Alexander, 384 St. James Ave., Springfield, 

Mr. C. S. Allen, Burr Block, Lincoln, Neb. 
Dr. Frank Anderson, Med. Inspect. U. S. N., Navy Yard, 

Mare Island, Calif. 
Miss G. I. S. Andrews, West Somers, West Chester Co., N. Y. 
Dr. J. F. Babcock, Katahdin Iron Works, Maine. 
Mr. W. H. Barnes, Ventura, Calif. 
Mr. George C. Bartlett, Tolland, Conn. 
Mrs. Tryphosa Bates Batcheller, Aberdeen Hall, North 

Brookfield, Mass. 
Mrs. K. A. Behenna, 41 East 29th St., New York. 
Mr. Samuel A. Bloch, Middletown, Conn. 
Mr. Charles E. Booth, National Arts Club, New Yorlt. 
Miss Lillian D. Bostock, 50 Willow St., Brooklyn, Nj. Y. 
Mr. Daniel W. Brainard, Grinnell, Iowa. 1 

Mr. J. M. Brundage, Andover, N. Y. ; 


List of Members of American Society for Psychical Research. 67 

Mr. Geo. L. Brooks, 903 W. Copper Ave., Albuquerque, New 

Mr. Charles Carroll Brown, 2247 N. Pennsylvania St., In- 
dianapolis, Ind. 

Mr. Edward P. BuflFet, 804 Bergen Ave., Jersey City, N. J. 

Mr. J. C. Bump, White Plains, N. Y. 

Mr. Austin H. Burr, Richmond, Virginia. 

Mr. Henry A. Burr, Wilmington, N. C. 

Dr. Arthur T. Bushwell, Barton, Vermont. 

Mrs. Hermon B. Butler, Winnetka, 111. 

Prof. G. R. Carpenter, Columbia University, New York. 

Miss M. E. Chapman, 290 Pearl St., Cleveland, Ohio. 

Mr. W. T. Cheney, Rome, Ga. 

Mrs. Rebecca S. Clark, Norridgewock, Maine. 

Mr. William W. Clemens, Marion, 111. 

Dr. H. L. Coleman, Box 29, Farragut, Iowa. 

Prof. Mattoon M. Curtis, 43 Adelbert Ave., Cleveland, Ohio. 

Mr. Alan Dale, no St. Nicholas Ave., New York City. 

Rev. John M. Davidson, Xenia, Ohio. 

Mr. E. T. Dickey, Room 4, Lombard Bldg., Indianapolis, Ind. 

Mr. George R. Eager, 49 Seminary Ave., Auburndale, Mass. 

Miss Katherine Edwards, Liberty, N. Y. 

Charlotte Errain, 20 N. i6th St., East Orange, N. J. 

Rev. Carl G. H. Ettlich, Laurel, Pa. 

Mr. T. R. Evans, Le Sueur, Minn. 

Mrs. W. G. Evans, 1310 S. 14th St., Denver, Col. 

Mr. G. I. Finley, Kiona, Wash. 

Mr. J. J. Flippin, 121 West Main St., Danville, Vir. 

Mr. J. D. Forrest, 30 Audubon Place, Indianapolis, Ind. 
St., New York. 

Mrs. A. R. Franklin, 2209 Nebraska Ave., Tampa, Fla. 

Mrs. Rebecca Friedlandcr, The Belleclaire, Broadway & 77th 
St., N. Y. 

Miss Sarah F. Gane, 430 N. State St., Chicago, 111. 

Prof. E. V. Garriott, 1308 Howard St., Washington, D. C. 

Mr. H. B. Gayfer, 169 Dauphin St., Mobile, Ala. 

Mr. Morrill Goddard, 2 Duanc St., N. Y. 

Mr. E. P. Gomery, Richmond, Province of Quebec, Canada. 

Mr. Henry R. Goodnow, 95 Riverside Drive, N. Y. 

Mr. Henry R. Gordon, 7 Wall St., N. Y. 

Dr. J. H. Gower, 609 Mack Block, Denver, Col. 

Mr. O. T. Green, Thousand Island Park, N. Y. 

Mr. Hermann Handrich, 941 Green Ave., Brooklyn, N. Y. 

Dr. C. H. Hayes, Chelsea Square, New York. 

Mrs. W. Hinkle-Smith, 2025 Locust St., Philadelphia, Pa. 

Mr. Arthur E. Hobson, Meriden, Conn. 

68 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 

Prof. F. S. HoflFman, Union College, Schenectady, N. Y. 

Mr. G. G. Hubbell, 608 S. Queen St., Lancaster, Pa. 

Mrs. A. H. Joline, The Dakotah, 726 St. & Central Park 
West, New York. 

Mr. Hiram Knowles, Missoula, Mont. 

Mr. Blewett Lee, 1700 Prairie Ave., Chicago, 111. 

Mr. J. D. McBeath, 223 ?:vwin Hill Ave., Dorchester, Mass. 
ui Mr. Herbert Mcintosh, 9 Harvard Ave., Allston, Mass. 

][i\ Mr. John MacLean, 32 University St., Montreal, Canada. 

t ]; Mr. Colin MacLennan, 2473 Broadway, New York. 

Mr. Geo. Mann, 32 University St., Montreal, Canada. 

Mrs. E. H. Martin, 29 Lake View Park, Rochester, N. Y. 

P. A. Martineau, Marinette, Wis. 

Mr. J. H. Merriam, 41 Liberty St., N. Y. 
"Ir. T. S. " ' ^ -" 

Mr. T. S. Mitchell, i Lothrop St., Plymouth, Mass. 
; I ' ■ Mme. Louise L. de Montalvo, Box O, Lakewood, N. J. 

L { Mr. T. M. Morris, Hazleton, Pa. 

, Mrs. Herbert Myrick, 151 Bowdoin St., Springfield, Mass. 

^ Mr. S. W. Narregang, Aberdeen, S. D. 

Mr. Henry Nash, 516 Madison St., Chicago, 111. 
i Mrs. Fred. Nathan, 162 West 86th St., N. Y. 

; ; Mr. C. E. Ozaime, 785 Republic St., Cleveland, Ohio. 

„ Dr. R. L. Parsons, Greenmont-on-Hudson, N. Y. 

* Mr. C. B. Patterson, 33 W. 67th St., N. Y. 

Mrs. A. P. Peabody, 47 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, Mass. 
Mr. W. W. Picking, 2000 Michigan Ave., Chicago, 111. 
Mr. H. I. J. Porter, i Madison Ave., N. Y. 
- ' Mr. Reinhardt Rahr, Manitowoc, Wis. 

' t Mr. Reginald Raymond, 7937 Elm St., New Orleans, La. 

t , .! Dr. A. H. Roler, 500 N. Y. Life Bldg., New York. 

^ Mr. M. V. Samuels, 1624 Octavia St., San Francisco, Calif. 

' Mrs. L. E. Sackett, 54 Andrew St., Springfield, Mass. 

Mr. H. C. Schweikert, Central High School, St. Louis, Mo. 
: : ^ Miss L. B. Scott, 28 West 58th St., N. Y. 

Miss M. M. Shelden, Walnut Valley Times, Eldorado, Kan. 
Bolton Smith, 66 Madison St., Memphis, Tenn. 
! ' Mrs. H. D. Smith, 177 Lake View Ave., Chicago, 111. 

I Mr. J. M. Snyder, Hollidaysburg, Pa. 

; ;t Mr. M. B. Sparks, Batavia, Iowa. 

' ! -^ Dr. J. G. W. Steedman, 2803 Pine St., St. Louis, Mo. 

j * 1 Mrs. C. H. Stone, 5562 Clemens Ave., St. Louis, Mo. 

, ' Dr. O. C. Strickler, New Ulm, Minn. 

Mr. V. K. Strode, 867 Kelly St., Portland, Ore. 
I .J Mr. W. G. L. Taylor, 434 North 2Sth St., Lincoln, Neb. 

1:-' Miss Amelia Tyler, Patent Office, Washington, D. C. 

- Mr. Albert Turner, Metropolitan Bldg., Madison Ave. & 23d 

St., New York. 

List of Members of American Society for Psychical Research, 69 

Mr. H. G. Walters, Langhorne, Bucks Co., Pa. 

Miss M. B. Warren, 19 Second St., Troy, N. Y. 

Mr. G. W. Welch, Ames, Iowa. 

Mr. W. F. White, 660 Johnson St., Portland, Ore. 

Mr. Harris Whittemore, Naugatuck, Conn. 

Miss Lillian Whiting, Hotel Brunswick, Copley Square, 

Boston, Mass. 
Dr. C. A. Wickland, 616 Wells St., Chicago, 111. 
Mrs. Frank Wilson, 50 Ridge St., Orange, N. J. 
Miss Susan Willard, 2 Berkeley Place, Cambridge, Mass. 
Mr. E. S. Willcox, Peoria Public Library, Peoria, 111. 
Rev. Leighton Williams, Amity House, 312 W. 45th St., New 

Dr. Walter Wyman, Stoneleigh Court, Washington, D. C. 
Mrs. G. W. Wood, 2906 F St., Washington, D. C. 
Mr. E. de B. Woodson, 5417 Bartmer St., St. Louis, Mo. 
Mr. G. A. Wolter, 182 North May St., Chicago, 111. 




American Society for Psychical Research 


American Institute for Scientific Research 

JAMES H. HYSLOP, Secretary 
519 West 149th Street, New York . 


Board of Trustees of the 
American Institute for 

Scientific Research. 

In accordance with the provisions hereto attached I apply for 
membership in the American Society for Psychical Research as 

a *9 with the understanding that the dues 

will become payable upon notice. 
Yours truly, 



The following references are given. 





Note. — All applications should be promptly mailed to the Secretary — 
address given above. ("Direction for applicants" on opposite page should be 
carefully read before the blanks are filled in). 

♦ Insert the class of Membership desired, (Founder, Patron, Fellow, 
Member or Associate). 



Applicants in special cases may be asked to give references 
and shall then be expected to supply the names and addresses of 
two persons of good standing in the community. 

There are five classes of contributing members : " Founders, ' 
"Patrons," "Fellows," "Members," and "Associates," with 
privileges as follows: 

Founders shall have the privileges of Patrons, Fellows, Mem- 
bers, and Associates, and shall have their names published in 
perpetuity, if so desired, in all the Proceedings of the Institute. 
A person may become a Founder on the payment of $S,ooo. 

Patrons shall have the privileges of Fellows, Members, and 
Associates, and shall have their names published, if so desired, 
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Vol. I.-N0. 2. 

February, 1907. 



Aierican Society for Psychical Research 


Gbcbral Axtxclbs: Pi 

LetterofDr. Pierre Janet. - - - 
Experiments with Mrs. Piper Since the 
Death of Dr. Richard Hodeson. • 


Notes.- - 
Local SodetisB, 





CoUectiTe Halludnatioo. 
Apparent Premonition, - 

- - - lis 

• - 116 


Book Rbvibws : 

Reriew of Prof. Jastrow's 

" The Sub- 

- - 117 



- - - m 



- - - 122 



Rue Barbet de Jouy, Paris, 

July 28th, 1905. 
My Dear Mr. Hyslop : 

You are trying to found an important institution, "the 
American Institute for Scientific Research," which would 
contribute to the development of psychological investigation, 
and you ask me to aid you in showing the American public 
the importance of this work. You have been kind enough 
to say in your request that I am able to give helpful aid and 
that the expression of my opinions would bring sympathetic 
support to your task and would influence those who hesitate 
to support it. I do not think I have the ability to give such 
assistance; indeed American psychologists and neurologists 
have much more influence than I have and it is their aid and 
not mine which will convince your fellow-men of the useful- 
ness of this work and give them the coivfidence which they 
might have in it. But however little my influence may be I 
shall not be tardy in doing my part and shall state briefly 
what seems to me interesting and important in your project. 

74 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 


The preceding century was devoted to the physical sci- 
ences and it is impossible to enumerate all the benefits which 
to-day accrue to mankind from the discoveries of these sci- 
ences. But the sciences which have for their object the 
study of man, the laws of the human mind, and the relations 
between the physical and the mental, have for a long time 
followed, though slowly, the rapid progress of the knowledge 
which has resulted from the study of matter. It is certain, 
however, that the mental sciences can be as helpful and pos- 
sibly more important than the investigation of physical phe- 
nomena. They may indeed explain the laws of the social 
organism and may possibly aid in establishing better social 
conditions. They ought to play an important part in our 
criminal jurisprudence and possibly provide a veritable pre- 
ventive of crime. The study of pedagogy should be asso- 
ciated with the science of psychology and this alone can 
regulate the conscious reform of our methods of education. 
A field in which psychology, if more advanced, might render 
incalculable service is that of mental therapeutics. If we are 
to judge by the progress which certain scientific investiga- 
tions, relative to hypnotism, suggestion and double person- 
ality have already made with reference to the therapeutic 
treatment of certain nervous diseases, we would discover a 
large number of such maladies of so terrible and melancholy 
a character that are incurable to-day only because of our 

Finally, is it not evident that the science of the mind is 
more than any other capable of satisfying the restless curi- 
osity of the human soul? Doubtless it is hardly probable 
that a single science can ever completely solve the problem 
of our nature and destiny. But in the meantime nothing can 
even approach these perplexing questions except the study of 
the mind. We can see the evidence of this in the passionate 
interest which certain phenomena excite, that are in reality 
psychological, namely, those of secondary personality, men- 
tal suggestion, clairvoyance and mediumship. These phe- 
nomena have evidently interested men to such an extent be- 

Letter of Dr, Pierre Janet, 75 

cause they seem to be related to the profoundest powers of 
the mind. Would not the scientific investigation of them, 
whatever the result it reached, aid much in understanding 
human nature ? More than any other science psychology is 
connected with philosophical and religious problems. 
Doubtless it is this fact that creates the great difficulty in the 
investigation, and it is also the fact which intensifies its in- 
terest and importance. 

Many attempts have been made, especially during the 
second half of the last century, to undertake the study of this 
rich and interesting field. It is apparent everywhere that we 
have tried to apply to psychology the inductive and experi- 
mental methods which have produced the marvellous results 
of the physical sciences. Mathematical methods have been 
applied to psychology in the study of psychological and psy- 
chometrical phenomena. With the use of new methods the 
anatomy and physiology of the nervous system have been 
revolutionized. No country has done so much in this field 
of scientific psychology as the United States. Thanks to 
the vigor of the American universities, the elasticity of their 
courses, and the wealth of their resources, the new science of 
psychology has been able to take an important place in edu- 
cation, and psychological laboratories in the United States 
have become more numerous, more excellent and better 
equipped than elsewhere. It is for that reason that no other 
country better understands the importance of certain recent, 
if not new, investigations which ought now to be associated 
with that psychology which is ordinarily studied in the lab- 
oratory, not for the purpose of converting it, but for that of 
developing and extending its power. 

It is evident that the study of the human mind can exer- 
cise a beneficial influence on morals : for traces of intellectual 
culture are found in a great number of phenomena which 
a:e exhibited in psychological investigations. If it be pos- 
sible soon to arrive at the knowledge of the laws of mental 
action, we may turn to account much more than has yet been 
done in the study of language, of art and of primitive civil- 
izations, just as we have begun to do in the study of the in- 
stincts and intelligence of animals. We ought simply to 

76 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 

choose and distinguish what the facts are whose investiga- 
tion seems for the moment to be specially useful; what the 
researches are that it is important to add to to-day to the 

"" various sciences now pursued in our laboratories. If I am 
not deceived, three types of allied investigation present, at 
this time, a particular value and have arrived at that degree 
of maturity which makes them important for us. These are 
those investigations which pertain to mental diseases, those 
which pertain to suggestive therapeutics, and those which 
propose an inquiry into the phenomena that we call super- 

•^ normal or occult, for the lack of a better name. It is neces- 
sary that we examine the importance which these investiga- 
tions have for the development of psychology. 

Psychological investigation has not been fully organized 
in the same way or directed to the same end in all countries, 
and even this is fortunate for its progress. If I am not mis- 
taken, investigators in other countries have been disposed to 
keep distinct two types of inquiry which the French psychol- 
ogists have been forced to associate. Most frequently we 
study, on the one side, the normal psychology of the indi- 
vidual, or pretend to do this, and on the other, we are occu- 
pied with the analysis and classification of mental diseases. 
It seems to me that, in France, under the influence of my 
masters, whom I am happy to mention, Charcot and Ribot, 
we have endeavored a little more to explain psychiatry by 
means of normal psychology and to regard mental diseases 
as good natural experiments, which enable us better to un- 
derstand what the normal functions are. 

Whatever the importance of the laboratory to psychol- 
ogy, we must not forget that a genuine experiment with the 
human mind is very difficult to obtain in a perfect form. 
One of the operations essential to the experimental method 
consists in changing the phenomena which we are consider- 
ing and with it the conditions affecting it. We need the 
power to vary the phenomenon concerned, to increase or to 
iminish it, and especially the power to suppress it with a 
iew to discovering its cause in the circumstances which 

Letter of Dr, Pierre Janet. yj 

vary with it at the same time: this is a summary of physio- 
logical method and the explanation of its success. That is, 
for example, the removal of the thyroid glands, the excision 
of the pneumo-gastric organs, the destruction of certain 
cerebral centers have enabled us to discover the functions of 
the thyroid glands, the functions regulating the action of the 
heart, and the functions of the motor centers in the cortex, 
etc. It is impossible to apply this method rigorously to psy- 
chology: we cannot exactly remove the memory, language 
or his voluntary actions from a man. Even though we were 
able we do not recognize the right to do it. There is always 
some aspect of the experimental method, and this the most 
important, that escapes us in psychology. The consequence 
is sufficiently grave to prevent us from always giving a clear 
account of psychological investigations. That is, we cannot 
experiment simply as we desire. We always find ourselves 
in the presence of a complicated individual and the condi- 
tions which determine a phenomenon are always infinitely 
complex, and they are difficult to define and impossible to 


Doubtless disease also remains complex; but in the mean- 
time it subjugates the individual. It brings him to those 
forms of consciousness which are less normal and less varied. 
I have a well defined suspicion that patients of the same type 
show astonishing resemblances. We are surprised to dis- 
cover subjects, belonging to very different social classes, dif- 
ferent environments and different countries,, using exactly 
the same forms of expression and metaphors, when they are 
attacked by the same disease. Two psychasthenics and two 
hysterical persons resemble each other much more than two 
normal individuals, having approximately the same charac- 
teristics. This circumstance indicates that the malady sim- 
plifies the mental condition of the patient when producing it. 

From time to time this reduction of higher states becomes 
particularly interesting for us when it clearly suppresses cer- 
tain psychological phenomena which our introspective analy- 
sis has already distinguished and which we assume to be 

78 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 

important. We meet subjects in whom language, memory 
or the will is suppressed. In some even the lesion is still 
more delicate: one portion of one's language is suppressed 
and another remains intact. Some lose the power to under- 
stand speech or to understand what they read, and yet they 
can speak themselves. We see some who have lost this or 
that type of memories and retained others: they may have 
completely forgotten recent events and yet be able to recall 
the more remote, or even remember what they have experi- 
enced in the past and yet be unable to acquire any new 
memories of the present experience. They have lost the 
power of acquisition but not the power of conservation or 
reproduction. It is the same with all the mental functions. 
They may be dissociated by disease in a more remarkable 
manner than we could effect by any dissection or mutilation 
of the organism. It is easy to explain that these are simply 
the dissociation, the obstruction of functions which the ex- 
perimental method would reclaim and which we cannot in- 
dependently effect ourselves. Doubtless science has been 
arrested for a time by the scruple that the disease deranges 
and diverts the vital functions. But we know, since Claude 
Bernard, "that we do not find any radical difference between 
physiological, pathological and therapeutic phenomena; 
these phenomena originate from causes which, being peculiar 
to living matter, are identical in their essential characteristics 
and do not vary except with the different conditions in which 
the phenomena are manifested." In our day physiology 
appropriates for itself a large part of these pathological facts 
and psychology, which does not have at its disposal the same 
resources that physiology has, receives a still greater ad- 
vantage. In fact, many chapters of normal psychology be- 
gin with the study of diseases. Let any one recall the works 
on the diseases of memory, the diseases of personality and 
the diseases of the will. Much of the more interesting and 
important knowledge which to-day fills the works of psy- 
chology has originated in observations that were connected 
with abnormal phenomena. It suffices to remark the ma- 
terial on the limitations of the compass of consciousness, on 
subliminal states, on the complexity and synthetic action of 

Letter of Dr. Pierre Janet. 79 

personality, on the synthesis of sensory and motor experi- 
ences in perception, such as have been remarked in the study 
of agnosia and apraxia, and the various forms and degrees of 
involuntary action. We should have to sacrifice two-thirds 
of the present psychology if we were to withdraw from con- 
sideration what has been obtained by virtue of the investiga- 
tion of abnormal phenomena of the mind and nervous system. 
We should remember that services of this kind are re- 
ciprocal, and that the treatment of nervous and mental dis- 
eases has already drawn and will draw more and more benefit 
from its understanding with psychology. Whatever the 
neurologists may say of it, it can still be claimed that psy- 
chological terms are the best for describing and explaining 
our clinical problems clearly. Physicians can secure a great 
benefit from the study of perceptive processes in interpreting 
the diseases of sensibility, from investigations of volition and 
emotion for understanding nervous troubles. Even to-day 
hysteria and psychasthenia in connection with obsessions, 
ideo-motor impulses and phobias are already, and before 
long, if I am not mistaken, epilepsy will be, entirely unintel- 
ligible without a serious study of psychology. Some time in 
the future it will not be possible to speak of the various forms 
of deliria without understanding the laws of suggestion, the 
modifications of the area of consciousness, or the various 
degrees of mental strain in volition and attention and their 
influence on the ideas and feelings of the patient. We shall 
be surprised in a short time to see how much psychiatry has 
been influenced by contact with a more exact psychology. 

Nervous and mental diseases still present us phenomena 
whose investigation is particularly important. These are 
such as happen under the various forms of medical practice 
and especially the phenomena which occur at the moment of 
recovering the normal state. Scientific method is properly 
realized when we can examine the same phenomenon in two 
cases that differ from each other only in a single known cir- 
cumstance, the other phenomena remaining exactly the same. 
The study of the same patient now during the period of his 

8o Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

illness and now at the point of recovery approximates this 
ideal. During the progress of hysterical paralysis we can 
observe the persistence of a certain amount of anaesthesia 
and then when the paralysis disappears we can note that, 
while the subject remains the same in all other respects, the 
anaesthesia previously remarked has disappeared. Have we 
not the right to say that this insensibility plays an important 
part in the coincidence? Many psychological observations 
have been made with this method.. Not only have men thus 
studied paralyses, anaesthesias and their relation to the field 
of consciousness, but also the influence of fixed ideas, auto- 
matisms, amnesia, voluntary actions during and after seizure, 
attention, emotional excitement during or after the crisis of 
ecstacy, etc. To apply this method correctly we must be 
able to watch the same patient for a long period and on many 
occasions, but we shall be most frequently recompensed best 
by persistent observation. 

It is here that reciprocity of services between physiology 
and psychology will appear most striking. More and more 
we see the importance which medical practice, based on a 
knowledge of psychologfical laws, will receive in the thera- 
peutics of mental disease. In my opinion, this is not to assert 
that a satisfactory claim has been made out for psycho- 
therapy, such as is practiced today. It is still very rudi- 
mentary and we are almost always reduced to the uncertain 
therapeutics of moral influence. But the reception given this 
method today permits of attempts to improve it and to give 
it a more precise character. 

For a long time the first rank of observers has been dis- 
posed to believe that, in respect to ills ascribed to the imagi- 
nation, it is important to oppose remedies of the same kind. 
There have been all the while some marvelous cures effected 
by religious faith, by the influence of necromancy, and even 
by the influence of the physician. Most of the methods of 
psychotherapy which are heralded about today are scarcely 
distinguishable from gross charlatanry. Under pretext of 
educating and reforming the reason and the will some urge 
the patient to know how to live in a passive mental state, 
how to will to be in good health, how to persist in trusting 

Letter of Dr. Pierre Janet. 8i 

his own powers, even though they are weak, and how to 
cultivate the habit of disregarding his insignificant pains and 
to boldly continue his life without occupying himself too 
much with his comfort. Now one forces himself to follow 
false ideas by reasoned argument that they are true, and now 
he accepts his inclinations and desires with the object of 
stimulating and directing them. 

These methods, in reality very ancient and very ex- 
tensively applied before modern practice, have indeed a great 
practical value. This is indisputable, and indeed some 
patients consider them sufficient to effect a cure. But it is 
not less indisputable that they very frequently miscarry and 
in the meantime the trouble seems to be of a moral character ; 
that is, under this very primitive form of treatment there are 
some defects of which the greatest is the lack at times of 
exactness and clear generalization. They lack exactness 
because we can apply them without distinction to every form 
of malady. You can carry on the same conversation with an 
epileptic, a melancholiac, an hysteric, and a psychaesthenic, 
distracted by his fears and obsessions. It is, in fact, not 
necessary to diagnose their disease in order to encourage 
self-reliance and resignation in them. On the other hand, 
that which makes the charm and the success of the sug- 
gestion is first the peculiar capacrty of the man who makes it, 
the fascination of his character, and also a certain disposition 
in the subject to yield to this seduction in the character of the 
operator. All this is very singular; the patient who has been 
relieved by one physician cannot go to another, though the 
latter applies the same methods. It is possible that he does 
not experience any effect in such cases. The physician who 
succeeds by these methods with one patient cannot feel 
assured that he will cure the same malady in another by 
similar methods ; it is possible that he will effect nothing at 
all. It is certain that we have a duty to resort to these 
methods while looking for better, but we are bound to con- 
sider that a scientific psychotherapy has not reached its per- 

For some years men have hoped to reach more precision 
in their practice when they began to use hypnotism, but they 

82 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 

often exaggerated its value when they claimed to find hys- 
terical phenomena in all cases of hypnotic suggestion and to 
apply it at random. Psychotherapeutics will not make any 
real progress until the physician understands the psycho- 
logical mechanism by which a definite disease has been pro- 
duced, even though he may know to some extent the precise 
laws which regulate the appearance and disappearance of 
certain psychological phenomena. When he knows that a 
particular motor disturbance is due to some anaesthesia ; that 
a certain feature of delirium depends on the presence of sub- 
liminal memories which we think ought not to have disap- 
peared; that this case of dizziness or that of delirium depends 
on inadequate attention and some modification of the 
emotions or of coenaesthesia, then every intelligent physician 
will be able, without having any of the special abilities of a 
miracle worker, to treat every patient whose condition had 
been properly diagnosed. We must not indulge any illusions 
in this matter. We are still very far from this goal. It is 
only by a more exact analysis of mental diseases; by the 
minute examination of the differences that the patient 
presents in his state of illness and his state of health : in a 
word, it is only by a very serious study of normal and ab- 
normal psychology that we can approach the art of relieving 
the sufferings of the mind which we are only beginning to 

In the field of pathological phenomena, which, in my opin- 
ion, is just before our eyes, is a certain number of very com- 
mon facts which are attested by popular observation, which 
are exaggerated by its fears and hopes, and which are singu- 
larly magnified and distorted by superstition. For the lack 
of a better name we will call them "occult," in order to make 
clear that we do not know what they are. In all the litera- 
tures of antiquity, Hindu, Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Arabian, 
are indications, more or less vague, of phenomena of 
* which men have referred to mysterious agencies, 
mly during the last century at most that these phe- 
have been observed with care and classified with 
iclness. Still more recently M. Ch. Richet, Profes- 

Letter of Dr. Pierre Janet, 83 

sor of Physiology in the Faculty of Medicine in Paris, in a 
series of remarkable articles, from which we may quote, 
shows the importance which he attaches to these investiga- 
tions by giving a classification of the controverted phe- 
nomena. In the first group we may place the facts which 
seem to belong to the category of physical phenomena, al- 
though they apparently transcend all known physical laws. 
For example, these are those noises which we call " raps " 
and which seem to be produced in material objects without a 
known cause ; or, better still, there is the alleged transporta- 
tion of physical objects. In another group we place those 
phenomena which apparently have a psychological character. 
For example, there are the phenomena which we designate 
by the name telepathy, in which sensations and thoughts 
seem to be transmitted from one person to another without 
intermediate sense impressions; and clairvoyance, which is a 
phenomenon of the same type in that the human mind seems 
to acquire certain knowledge without use of the usual and 
normal means of gaining knowledge, and the various pre- 
sentiments in which the mind seems to have been freed from 
the limitations of time as in clairvoyance it seems to have 
been freed from those of space.* These phenomena have 
been indicated by the various names of animal magnetism, 
bio-magnetism, telepathic agency, unknown force, telekinetic 
force and psychic force. They have been described and ex- 
plained after a manner, but they are very little understood. 
Most serious minds are embarrassed by them and do not 
even know what attitude they should take when asked to 
consider them. At present, when it is a matter of expressing 
an opinion on clairvoyance and the movement of objects 
without contact, we find that there are only two views, both 
equally exaggerated and absurd, the one of an enthusiastic 
advocate and the other of blind faith or denial as ignorant as 
they are mistaken, and it is easy to discover that one is as 
untenable as the other. 

Whatever justice or even indulgence we wish to accord 
writers who describe these occult phenomena in special re- 
views, it is impossible not to be amazed at the absurd manner 
in which they present their data. During all these years 

84 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

there have appeared on these matters some hundreds of vol- 
umes and some thousands of articles, written by men of very 
good character whose opinions evidently deserve serious con- 
sideration. But really we soon stop disgusted with our read- 
ing: these authors assert the most improbable facts without 
giving themselves the least trouble to verify their beliefs. 
Their data are only a confused mixture of enthusiasm, 
poetry, entreaties and rudeness of manner toward all those 
who do not immediately accept their statements. Their 
absolute lack of scientific method, their absolute ignorance of 
the rules of observation, — I would not say scientific, but even 
of the slightest rational observation — have ended in com- 
pletely disgusting men of science and have completely dis- 
couraged their interest in the phenomena. 

Against these credulous enthusiasts are the sceptics who 
are indifferent to occult phenomena. The physicians, the 
physiologists, and the psychologists find it altogether be- 
neath the dignity of their science to concern themselves in 
any manner whatever with the phenomena of thought trans- 
ference. They ignore or treat with contempt all the work 
of their predecessors. This attitude is no better than that of 
the believer. In the presence of facts, or if one prefers, of 
phenomena apparently very important and which, if they 
bring us new knowledge, would be likely to revolutionize our 
conception of the world, a refusal to investigate and a sys- 
tematic denial of the problem are as puerile as the uncritical 
faith and the blind enthusiasm of the occultists. No reason 
which has been advanced to excuse this refusal to investigate 
can be considered serious and such as are given will not 
stand criticism. 

Should we condemn the study of these phenomena be- 
cause some people call them occult and because we find their 
investigation bringing us toward mysticism? There are no 
terms more vague and undefined than "occult" and "mystic." 
Every phenomenon is occult for those who know it imper- 
fectly. Thunder and lightning were occult phenomena for 
savages. The study of the properties of metals was a mys- 

* Charles Richet Annals of Psychical Research, January, 1905. Proceed- 
ings of the Society for Psychical Research. 

Letter of Dr. Pierre Janet. 85 

tical affair with the alchemists of the middle ages. In ceas- 
ing to be occult these phenomena cease to be arbitrary. This 
is a postulate of science, and these phenomena fall into the 
category of general causation without which the study of 
them would modify the general principles of science. 

Should we condemn the study of them because, in the 
opinion of some people, they seem actually impossible? 
Beyond pure mathematics is there anything impossible? We 
know very well that the results of present science do not have 
absolute truth and that they always depend upon certain 
conditions for their occurrence. Oxygen and hydrogen, as 
we all know, combine in certain conditions, but we know well 
that, if we remove these conditions, their combination does 
not take place. "It is admitted," says Ch. Richet,* "that 
bodies which are not the subjects of chemical change, which 
apparently do not lose any of their weight, do not produce 
heat." This seems to be a universal law, one of the immu- 
table foundations of physics. But lo ! the discovery of radium 
has destroyed this alleged universality, since, without any 
appreciable chemical change, it produces considerable quan- 
tities of heat. "Physical science is not overthrown by the 
discovery: it concludes only that certain conditions, still un- 
known, which determine the loss of weight in other bodies, 
are not present in the case of radium." 

Suppose the reply is that the conditions which determine 
the so-called occult phenomena are too complicated ever to 
be realized experimentally. What do we know in such a 
matter? Most things which are actual facts today have been 
declared impossible at other times, examples, the railway, the 
telegraph, the telephone, the balloon. Who would have ad- 
mitted twenty years ago that we should one day be able to 
photograph the fracture of a bone through the flesh of a 
Hving man? All these objections invariably return to this 
singular and common idea: "That is impossible because I 
have not seen it." It is with this kind of statement that men 
always try to prevent discovery. That which properly 
defines science is its function to make us see what we have 
not hitherto seen. " Science," says Duclaux, " is the exten- 
sion of sensation : whenever it effects any progress it repro- 

86 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

duces on the plane of our imperfect sensory organs every- 
thing that exists beyond the reach of them. Let us under- 
stand then, that the wise man who every day attends at simi- 
lar disclosures is not naturally inclined to believe in anything 
beyond what he sees — for there is an infinite number of 
things we do not see — that the world is not limited to forces 
which act on our senses and that it probably contains thous- 
ands of others." 

We cannot make a better summary of these observations 
than to quote the conclusion of the work of M. Ch. Richet: 
" Instead of seeming to ignore spiritism, scientists should 
study it. Physicians, chemists, physiologists and philoso- 
phers ought to take the trouble to know and understand the 
facts affirmed by spiritists. A long and diligent study of the 
subject is necessary; it will certainly be fruitful, for however 
absurd the theories may be, these do not alter the facts. And 
if there are many errors and illusions in the assertions of the 
spiritists, there are probably, nay, certainly, many truths 
which for us are still enveloped in mystery. These truths, 
when they are better understood, will profoundly modify the 
puny notions we at present entertain concerning man and 

^ the universe."* 

X I can only further say that the phenomena which are the 

subject of these investigations ought some day to be the sub- 
ject of physical research. But above all else they ought to be 
the subject of psychological inquiry. All along they have 
not appeared as facts purely physical, but have always de- 
pended on the presence of a human being and the mind of 
this person. Even the phenomena that are apparently purely 
physical, incidents like raps or materializations always de- 
mand the presence of a medium. The investigation of these 
facts ought always to begin with the study of this particular 
person, with an investigation that should exhibit his decep- 
tions, his unconscious mistakes, and the nervous and mental 
conditions which accompany the phenomena. This physio- 
logical investigation is far from being useless even when it 
does not result in discovering the phenomena under dispute. 
It was in the study of facts in a case of alleged mental sug- 

* Ch. Richet, Annals of Psychical Science, January, 1905, p. 8. 

Letter of Dr. Pierre Janet. 87 

gestion that I was aroused to the presence of subliminal 
mental phenomena, and we will doubtless find a rich field of 
psychological information when disentangling the mental 
condition of a medium, and also the singular mental condi- 
tion of the believer who watches seances of the kind in an un- 
critical spirit. 

I shall further add that the first investigation of these phe- 
nomena belongs to pathological psychology. The people ^ 
who act as mediums are more than variations from the nor- 
mal: they are very often actually demented. To understand 
them it is necessary to be constant attendants at their per- 
formances, to observe their habitual illusions and the actions 
that accompany them. On a single occasion I had the oppor- 
tunity to investigate a case of apports and was able to show 
the part played in this instance by subliminal consciousness 
and spontaneous somnambulism. Later we may be able to 
prove that genuine mediums can be distinguished by the fact 
that they are what we know as neurotic subjects. This is 
possible, but for the present we must approach instances of 
the kind from a point of view which begins by investigating 
them by means of the same methods which are employed in 
other cases. It is to abnormal psychology that the duty now " 
falls to solve the vexatious problem raised by the allegation 
of occult phenomena. Let it hold itself equally free from 
puerile credulity and blind incredulity; let it restrain auda- 
cious hypotheses, but let it exhibit a rigor of method in the 
verification of facts proportioned to their novelty and to the 
gravity of their consequences, and it will discover in the 
study of these facts some singular resources for explaining 
them and for the application of therapeutics to the human 


Some such psychological investigation, bearing on the 
various phenomena of the mind as presented in mental dis- 
eases, in the applications of psychiatry, in the strange experi- 
ments of which abnormal or occult phenomena are the oc- 
casion, are today much more extended than we imagine. 
There has been a great advance in this field during the last 

88 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

twenty years. Such scientific inquiries are less misunder- 
stood and men are not so often accused of insanity for study- 
ing hypnotism or mental suggestion. We ought to be grate- 
ful to those great men who have blazed the way and who 
have had the courage in the love of truth to face the disre- 
pute once attached to these inquiries. Nor must we forget 
that the field has already been cultivated with some success 
and has already furnished science with some valuable results. 
Although this be true, we can easily observe that there is still 
much to do and that such investigations in psychology have 
not yet obtained in any way, even in America, the place 
which we would desire for them. 

Such inquiries as exist are not only defective, isolated and 
insufficiently supported financially, but still in an unorganized 
condition and without any bond of interest to connect and 
systematize them. The psychology largely cultivated in our 
institutions scarcely takes any account of pathological or ab- 
normal phenomena. In the laboratories of natural science 
and of physiology men do not neglect the study of cerebral 
functions, but they only incidentally broach the facts of which 
I have been speaking. In the medical colleges and in the 
hospitals men are now beginning to recogfnize that psychol- 
ogy ought to have a place in the study of nervous diseases 
and insanity, but it is not possible to dispute that this investi- 
gation, except in a small part of the hospital service, should 
not be considered as wholly accessory. In confirming this 
position, we are made to hope that, instead of thus occupying 
a secondary place, the psychology of which we speak ought, 
in some particular institution, to be the principal object, the 
center about which all other studies, philosophical, psycho- 
logical and medical should converge. An institute of this 
kind, without multiplying labor and expense by additional 
forms of education, as we find it in our various colleges, 
would only supplement what we have, would co-ordinate 
them, and give them much more unity and importance. It 
seems to me that it will even act eflfectively on public opinion 
to show that at some time the study of man has been placed 
in the first rank and that this will give a fertile impulse to all 
those researches, moral, physiological and clinical, which 

Letter of Dr, Pierre Janet, 89 

always have the same purpose, when their work is summed 
up, namely, the knowledge of man as a whole. This institute 
should begin a strenuous effort to put in the forefront the 
study of the human mind in all its manifestations, physical 
and moral, in all their elementary or developed forms, normal 
and abnormal. 


A work of this kind has its place so well indicated today, 
its use so well recognized by all the best minds, that in sev- 
eral countries it has already found some interesting attempts 
to realize its aims. In the first rank of these societies which 
have tried to organize some investigation of the kind is the 
English Society for Psychical Research, which, I believe, has 
an important branch in America. Owing to the influence of 
Gurney, Myers and Sidgwick this society has very greatly 
extended the interest in psychological investigation and has 
gradually introduced the study of psychic phenomena into 
the schemes of the regular and exact sciences. The Psycho- 
logical Institute, which we tried to found in 1900 in France, 
has a similar object, possibly even a larger scope, inasmuch 
as it makes pathological phenomena a larger part of the in- 
vestigation than the English Society. Some such efforts 
have had more or less success ; they might be developed still 
more and render us further service. 

But it is evident that the creation of such an institute de- 
mands large resources and that it is extremely difficult to 
accomplish its formation. Moreover, we must expect to see 
this work reorganized from different points of view and new 
attempts occurring to complete the work of the first. The 
American Institute for Scientific Research, of which you have 
sent me the charter, evidently approaches the attempts pre- 
viously mentioned and aims to pursue the same path. It does 
not appear that you wish to organize opposition to the gen- 
eral work of older institutions, but that you are trying to 
collaborate with them in a manner which will give greater 
publicity to their investigations and which can even aid them 
in their researches. You have shown us so many wonders 
in the universities of the United States, you have so often 

90 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

seen what makes intelligent generosity in a donor, that we 
expect much of any similar work undertaken by you, and we 
shall consider its success a great benefit for all similar inves- 
tigations which it will encourage and sustain. 

The plans of the American Institute are well indicated in 
the charter, which you have been kind enough to send me. 
It is a pleasure for me to speak of it : for it promises to realize 
all my dreams for the organization of a psychological insti- 
tute. I should choose from your outline the various forms of 
research which I think desirable today for developing in a 
complete manner the science of the human mind. The 
various articles of the charter and the different features of the 
institute seem to answer perfectly to all that I could desire. 

I would agree with you that the study of mental diseases 
furnishes the most interesting and important psychological 
facts of the age. You justly propose to study all the phe- 
nomena of abnormal psychology, hallucinations, illusions, 
disintegration of personality, alcoholism, and all the phe- 
nomena of mind that we meet in neurasthenia and psychas- 
thenia before they reach insanity proper. I would emphasize 
the importance of treating mental disease5, the improvement 
of mental disorders, their cure by various methods, physical 
or mental, not only as a benefit to the patient, but as an edu- 
cation most valuable to the physiological psychologist. But 
you rightly desire some day to organize a hospital after the 
type of the Salpetriere, in which men may be occupied with 
the philanthropic treatment of mental diseases as well as in 
the scientific investigation of them. However excellent the 
organization of American hospitals, it is always useful to 
have another, especially when its object is to apply thera- 
peutic methods which have not yet received sufficient recog- 
nition. I refer especially to a class of very unfortunate 
patients and for whom your plan would constitute an im- 
portant help: these are those unhappy neuropathic subjects 
who live on the borders of insanity without ever fully enter- 
ing it. They suffer cruelly from all sorts of disorders : they 
are wholly unable to earn a livelihood and cannot even adjust 
themselves to the social organism, and yet in the meantime it 
■s very difficult to find a retreat where any one will consent to 

Letter of Dr. Pierre Janet. 91 

consider their distress or to aid them in restoring their health. 
They have no temperatures or organic troubles that would 
justify their admission into the ordinary hospitals. They 
have no such mental maladies as would open to them the 
asylums for the insane. If they were rich they would find a 
place in those hydro-therapeutic institutions which are spe- 
c'ally built for this class of patients. But we know how inac- 
cessible these retreats are for the larger portion of these un- 
fortunates. In the meantime how important it would be to 
treat all these invalids, inebriates, hysterical and psychas- 
thenic patients in large hospitals. Their seizures and at- 
tacks of insanity are a permanent danger to society. The 
development of their disease, which we can hardly treat at all, 
will bring with it some day real insanity which will be at the 
charge of the state, when a little rest and intelligent care at 
the beginning of their malady vvould not only prevent their 
suffering, but would save to society minds that are frequently 
very useful. These incipient cases of insanity are the most 
interesting and important for scientific psychology. They 
are such as will be the most important from all points of view* 
for humane care and cure. Your institute ought to be as 
acceptable to the philanthropist as to the scientist. 

In the next place I would admit with you the importance 
which the work has for psychology and for every science in 
bringing into clear light the statements incessantly made 
about so-called occult phenomena and in extracting from all 
these legendary stories the real facts which they conceal. 
Paragraph (d) of your charter meets this demand very 
clearly : 

" To conduct, endow and assist investigation of all alleged 
telepathy, alleged apparitions of the dead, mediumistic phe- 
nomena, alleged clairvoyance, and all facts claiming to repre- 
sent supernormal acquisition of knowledge or the supernor- 
mal production of physical effects." And in your letter you 
add : " I should see that cases were studied in the interests of 
psychology as well as physiology, and the records published 
in detail, so that men all over the world could have the benefit 
of the results. I should see that committees be appointed in 
all the large cities in this country and that their carefully 


92 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 

studied cases should find record and publication. ... In 
psychic research I should see that an American society was 
organized and wherever properly qualified men could do 
work in it, I should see that they did not lack the means to 
investigate, but I should devolve upon them the responsibility 
of publishing their own work or have the society accept it. I 
do not intend that the Institute which I have incorporated 
shall accept any public or official responsibilities for work of 
that kind. I should be very cautious about even aiding it." 
In a word, your prudent and courageous intention altogether 
indicates a firm resolution to give the investigation of these 
phenomena all the scientific rigor which is at present abso- 
lutely necessary. 

Your project, my dear Mr. Hyslop, is therefore excellent, 
but permit me to say to you that I cannot congratulate you 
much for the conception of £he plan. All these things are in 
the air, as we say. Many of the best minds in the world have 
tried to organize institutions similar to that which you are 
projecting. It remains for you to accomplish the most diffi- 
•cult and the most original part of the plan. It depends on 
you to build up your institute, to transform the project on 
paper into an enduring structure. Most similar attempts, 
after a partial success, have always been arrested in their 
course by the difficulty which meets all others in our day, 
namely, the want of money. It will require a very large sum 
to accomplish your object, and ambitious plans become 
ridiculous when we have only small resources at our disposal. 
But after all is this an obstacle for you? Does the lack of 
money exist in America when the matter is one of philan- 
thropic and scientific labor? Are there not always millions 
of dollars for libraries, for universities, and for institutions 
that are devoted to some noble work? You say that you 
intend to carry on a campaign for securing the necessary 
funds, and I do not doubt that you will obtain them very 
easily. I shall then be very happy to congratulate you; for 
you will have transformed into a beautiful living reality an 
institution for which we have hoped so long and you will 
have made an important step in the progress of the science 

Experiments ivith Mrs. Piper. 93 

which is of all the most important and the most rich in 
promise, the science of the human mind. 

With my sympathy for the American Institute for Scien- 
tific Research, please to accept the assurance of my highest 


Professor of Psychology in the College of France, Paris. 


By James Hervey Hyslop. 

In accordance with a previous promise I summarize here 
some results of experiments since the death of Dr. Richard 
Hodgson. They of course implicate Mrs. Piper, but I do 
not mean to confine the phenomena to what has occurred 
through her. The reason for this is apparent. The scien- 
tific sceptic would not easily be convinced by any alleged 
messages from Dr. Hodgson through that source. He 
wishes to be assured that Mrs. Piper had no means of know- 
ing the facts which illustrate the personal identity of real or 
alleged communicators before accepting even telepathy as 
an explanation. I must therefore respect this attitude in 
quoting any facts which show intelligence of a kind not refer- 
able to guessing or chance coincidence. It is not that any 
suspicion of Mrs. Piper's honesty is to be entertained at this 
late day, as the past elimination of even the possibility of 
fraud as well as the assurance that she has not been disposed 
to commit it are sufficient to justify ignoring it. But our 
troubles have not been wholly removed when we have merely 
eliminated the right to accuse her of fraud. A far more com- 
plicated objection arises and this is the unconscious repro- 
duction of knowledge acquired in a perfectly legitimate way. 
Dr. Hodgson had been so long associated with Mrs. Piper 
that we cannot know, without having his own ante-mortem 
statement, what he may casually have told her about himself 
and his life. It is easy to exclude previous knowledge of 
total strangers, but a man who had worked for eighteen 

94 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

years in experiment with Mrs. Piper is exposed to the sus- 
picion that he may have told many things to her in a casual 
manner which may turn up in unconscious simulation of his 
personality. I do not here concern myself with that hypoth- 
esis of many unscientific people who think that Mrs. Piper's 
mind has drawn telepathically into it the personality and 
memories of Dr. Hodgson previous to his death and can at 
pleasure afterwards reproduce them and palm them off as 
spirits. Any one who can believe such a thing without an 
iota of evidence for it can believe anything. I shall not treat 
seriously such an hypotl;^esis until it condescends to produce 
at least some evidence for itself commensurate with the mag- 
nitude of its claims. I am not attracted by miracles as long 
as a perfectly simple theory will explain the facts, and hence 
I should be much more impressed by either fraud or second- 
ary personality than by any such credulous acceptance of the 
supernatural, for supernatural of a most astonishing kind it 
would be. Under the known circumstances it is far easier 
to suppose that Mrs. Piper might have casually acquired 
information from her conversations with Dr. Hodgson and 
that the trance state produces it in spiritistic forms. That 
is the real difficulty which the scientific man has to face. 

For this reason I shall have to exercise great caution in 
selecting the facts which are probably free from this sus- 
picion. In doing so I shall assume that the reader knows 
what has been done to protect Mrs. Piper's seances from the 
accusation of conscious fraud on her part. All this will be 
taken for granted in the present narrative, and such facts 
selected i±s Lire most likely representative of supernormal in- 
formation. In the instances implicating other psychics be- 
sides Mrs, Piper we shall have facts which may help to pro- 
tect those coming from her. Upon these special stress may 
be laid, but some of those " communicated " through Mrs. 
Piper are so forceful in illustration of personal identity and 
so flifficult to have been in any way ascertained by Mrs. 
Pipcr» when we know how cautious and reticent Dr. Hodgson 
dually was about his aflfairs to her, that they will serve to 

y a natural curiosity of the public which demands such 
rauoications, if the theory which Dr. Hodgson held be- 

Experiments with Mrs. Piper, 95 

fore his death is to be considered as true. I believe that this 
interest has its rights and that an organization like the So- 
ciety for Psychical Research, receiving the funds of its mem- 
bers, owes something to them in return, and while it must 
maintain a certain reserve in the publication of its facts it is 
easy to postpone this duty beyond all rational limits. 

It would be much better for the scientific man if I could 
publish the detailed record of the experiments, but this is 
impossible in the Journal, and as this is not intended to rep- 
resent the organ for proving any doctrine scientifically we 
may well abbreviate results to merely illustrate the type of 
facts which we have in our possession. 

I repeat that the reader must assume that I have allowed, 
for the usual and simple objections to the phenomena which 
I mean here to summarize. I should admit frankly that, if 
I were dealing with ordinary professional mediums the facts 
which I expect to narrate would have no evidential or scien- 
tific importance. It is because they follow a long history of 
accredited facts that they derive at least a suggestive value. 
The reader may entertain the account as one of hypothetical 
importance and await the investigation of cases where the 
same reservations will not have to be maintained. 

Again before starting on the facts which are to serve as 
evidence of something supernormal in the communications 
purporting to come from Dr. Hodgson, I must remind the 
reader that we can give only the most trivial incidents. We 
are not engaged in the recording and parading about great 
revelations. This must not be expected. We are employed 
in a scientific problem which is one of evidence and only the 
most trivial circumstances will serve as proof of the hypothe- 
sis which seems to be illustrated in the phenomena of Mrs. 
Piper. If we are to believe in the spiritistic theory to ac- 
count for her case, or to explain any other phenomena sup- 
posed to be produced by the discarnate, we cannot forget that 
the primary problem is the proof of personal identity. If a 
spirit claims to communicate or to produce phenomena not 
easily explicable by ordinary methods it must prove its iden- 
tity and must communicate little trivial incidents in its past 
earthly life which cannot be guessed and which are not com- 

96 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

mon to the lives of other people. In other words we must 
have supernormal information and such a quantity as well as 
quality of it as will make the spiritistic theory more probable 
than any other. Ethical or other revelations are worthless 
for this problem and have to be discarded, whatever other 
interest psychological or philosophical they may have. 
Hence readers must not be disappointed if we insist on con- 
centrating their attention upon the incidents that prove per- 
sonal identity and the supernormal character of the informa- 
tion conveyed through Mrs. Piper. When we have reason 
to accept the supernormal and to believe that its selective 
reference to the personality of deceased persons make sur- 
vival after death probable, we may take up the other prob- 
lems, but we cannot do more than one thing at a time. 

One of the early incidents in the communications through 
Mrs. Piper purporting to come from Dr. Hodgson implicates 
another psychic to a slight extent. Dr. Hodgson and I had 
made an experiment with a certain young lady, who had 
mediumistic powers and who was not a professional psychic, 
nearly a year before his death. A short time after his decease 
a friend was having a sitting with Mrs. Piper and in the 
course of the communications — to be called this on any 
theory of them — the friend asked if he would communicate 
with her through any other " light," the term used by the 
trance personalities to denote a medium. The reply sub- 
stantially was : " No, I will not, except through the young 
light. She is all right." Later in the sitting one of the 
trance personalities or controls, referring to this told the 
sitter that I (Hyslop) understood to whom this referred, 
giving my name. Dr. Hodgson added to his statement that, 
as soon as he recovered from the shock of death he had ex- 
amined the case and found it all right. 

Now Dr. Hodgson and I, with the parents and one or two 
relatives, were all that knew anything about this case. The 
sitter and others associated with the experiment in Boston 
did not know the meaning of the incident and reference. 
When I was informed of it, the matter was made perfectly 
clear. It is true that Dr. Hodgson, while living and after 
our experiment with the young lady, had mentioned the case 

Experiments unth Mrs, Piper, 97 

without names to the trance personalities so that at least 
Mrs. Piper's subliminal can be supposed to have been aware 
of the facts sufficiently to deprive the incident of the evi- 
dential value which we would like it to have. But the most 
striking incident is one that involves a cross reference with 
this young lady. The father carefully kept the knowledge 
of Dr. Hodgson's death from his daughter and very soon 
after his death and about the time of the incident just men- 
tioned wrote me that they had a sitting with the daughter 
and that the control had said he had seen Dr. Hodgson. 
This coincides with his statement through Mrs. Piper that he 
had examined the case and found it all right. 

One incident of great importance occurred in my first 
sitting after Dr. Hodgson's death. After he had referred to 
some discussions which he and I had over my Report on the 
Piper case in the spring of 1900 and had made some reference 
to his posthumous letter, he suddenly broke out with the 
statement : " Remember that I told Myers we would talk 
nigger talk." I saw at a glance, owing to my familiarity 
with phenomena of this kind, that something was wrong and 
I said, speaking to Mrs. Piper's hand, as we always do: 
" No, you must have told that to some one else." The reply 
from Hodgson was: "Ah, yes, James. I remember it was 
Will James. He will understand. Do you remember the 
difficulties we had in regard to our hypothesis on the spirit- 
istic theory?" I knew nothing of this and wrote to Prof. 
James, who was in California at the time, to ascertain 
whether any such remark had ever been made to him by Dr. 
Hodgson. The statement was pertinent, as I knew that Dr. 
Hodgson and I had talked with Prof. James on the mental 
conditions of communicators, but I did not know whether 
any such definite incident had occurred between them. Prof. 
James replied that he did not recall any incident of the kind. 
When he returned to Cambridge late in the spring the inci- 
dent was told him again by his son and Prof. James again 
denied all recollection of the matter. At lunch with Mr. 
Piddington the same day he was telling his guest what his 
opinion was of the trance personalities in the Piper case. 
Prof. James did not believe them to be spirits, but secondary 

98 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

personalities of Mrs. Piper, suggested by her knowledge of 
the same personalities in the case of Stainton Moses and the 
development of Dr. Hodgson's influence during his experi- 
ments. In the process of thus explaining his opinion he 
said to Mr. Piddington that he had several times told Dr. 
Hodgson that, if he would only use a little tact, he could con- 
vert their deific verbiage into nigger minstrel talk, and then 
he suddenly recalled what had been said in the communica- 
tions and wrote me the facts. 

The reader will remark the important fact that it was not 
Dr. Hodgson that had made the statement to Prof. James 
and that the subject was not the difficulty of communicating, 
but the nature of the trance personalities, and that it was 
Prof. James who had made a reference to " nigger talk." 
Just enough is given to recall the identity of the persons and 
relations between them, while the rest of the incident shows 
mental confusion between the incident which Prof. James re- 
.called and the subjects of discussion which had taken place 
between them regarding the mental condition of communi- 
cators which Dr. Hodgson and I had tried to make clear to 
our common friend. George Pelham's statement that we 
have to be in a dreamlike state on the other side in order to 
communicate is distinctly suggested by this incident as it is 
so like a delirium that it appears to be wholly unlike either 
telepathic or other phenomena, while there is little excuse 
from the ordinary explanations for the form which the com- 
munication takes. 

Another incident of some interest is the following. We 
had been working together in behalf of the plan which we 
are now putting into execution since his death, namely, the 
formation of an independent American Society. We had 
met the second summer before at Putnam's Camp in the 
Adirondacks to talk it over and did so, agreeing there upon 
the main outlines of the scheme. It was our intention to 
talk the matter over again last summer (1905) at the same 
place, more especially with reference to points not touched 
on in our first interview which was occupied with the main 
outlines. But he was not at the camp when I called and I 
missed him. He then wrote me that he would either return 

Experiments with Mrs. Piper. 99 

to Boston by way of New York or make a special trip to 
New York after his return to settle matters. He was pre- 
vented doing this as soon as he had expected and at last de- 
cided that he would come after the holidays. Less than two 
weeks before this he was in his grave. Hence the reader 
will appreciate the following communications. 

After alluding to the pleasure of seeing the new world 
beyond death, a circumstance wholly worthless for any 
rational purposes in this discussion, he changed the subject. 
I quote the record, putting what I said in parentheses and 
what was written automatically by Mrs. Piper without en- 
closure of any kind. 

" I will now refer to the meeting I proposed having before 
I came over. 

(When was the meeting to be?) 

" I suggested having a meeting in New York, at the 

(Yes, that is right.) 

" No one could know about these plans better than your- 

(That is right.) 

" Do you remember my desire to publish my report next 
season. Yes, extracts. 

(About whom were the extracts?) 

" I wished to publish extracts about our telepathic ex- 

(All right. That was not what I was thinking about. 
But go ahead.) 

" I also wished to publish extracts about the spirit side of 
test experiments and my theory in answer to some criticism 
I recall from Mrs. Sidgwick." 

Now it was a part of Dr. Hodgson's plan to have his reply 
to Mrs. Sidgwick's strictures on his report in 1899 ready for 
the first publication of the new movement. We had agreed 
upon this. We may suppose that Mrs. Piper knew of his 
desire to reply to Mrs. Sidgwick, but hardly of his plan to 
meet me and talk over the matter in New York which had 
been quietly arranged. The allusion to "telepathic experi- 
ments " is intelligible only in the light of the fact that Mrs. 
Sidgwick in her criticism admitted the probability that in Dr. 

ic» Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

Hodgson's Report he had a record of frequent telepathic or 
other form of communication from the dead, though through 
the subliminal mental action of Mrs. Piper. But Mrs. Sidg- 
wick. could not accept what Dr.. Hodgson had called the 
" possession " theory of the process. His probable intention 
in his reply to her was to quote the record of telepathic ex- 
periments in the Society's Proceedings to show that the 
analogies between them and the Piper phenomena could not 
be sustained. However that may be it is a relevant point in 
the problem, and his special conversation with me turned 
upon the selection of extracts from the records to show that 
his theory of the matter was defensible. He had no occasion 
to reply to her attitude of the spirit hypothesis, as she had 
tacitly conceded this and only disputed his view of the pro- 
cess. He and I had frequently talked over his reply and I 
had called his attention to an important point he could make 
in it from the failure of one of the Piper Reports to quote the 
record in full, actually leaving out a sentence which was the 
clue to the whole difficulty in the communication. 

On the oc?casion when we visited the " young light " we 
also had some sittings with a case of alleged independent 
voices. I had reached the city a few days previous to Dr. 
Hodgson and in order to test the genuineness of the claims, 
in accordance with a request of my host, I used a liquid to put 
in the psychic's mouth, as the experiments had to be con- 
ducted in pitch darkness. In the communications through 
Mrs. Piper, Dr. Hodgson interrupted some allusions to the 
eflfect of death upon the memory and continued. 

" I shall never forget our experiments with a so-called 
light when you took a bottle of red liquid. 

(Very good. You know what a noise that man has 

" I do. I know all about it. 

(I have had some controversy with a friend of his.) 


(Yes, recently. Now can you answer a question? Tell 
me who it was or all you can recall about it.) 

" Yes, which ? I remember our meeting there. I can re- 

Experiments with Mrs, Piper. loi 

member the liquid experiment which was capital. I also 
recall an experiment when you tied the handkerchief. 

(I do not recall it at this moment.) 

" What's the matter with you ? 

(I have tied a handkerchief so often.) 

" Remember the voice experiment ? 

(Yes, I remember that well. That was when the liquid 
was used.) 

" I am referring to it now. I know it perfectly well, but 
no one else does. 

(Yes, that's right.) 

" I remember how she-tried to fool us. 

(Yes, it was my first trial at that.) 

" I remember it well. Remember one thing and keep 
this on your mind. I shall avoid referring to things of which 
you are thinking at the time as much as possible and refer to 
my own memories. I have seen too much not to understand 
my business. I remember what our conversation was. She 
was an arrant humbug. 

(Yes I remember well.) 

" I wish to recall an incident. Do you remember writing 
me from the west about an experiment you tried to make 
while there ? 

(Yes, go on please.) 

" It was on the whole good. 

(Yes, I think it was on the whole good.) 

"After there is some definite arrangement made here 
about some one to fill my place, I hope you will take this up 
again when I shall help you." 

The liquid that I used in the experiment was not red but 
purple. A part of the controversy that arose regarding the 
case occurred before Dr. Hodgson's death, but not the part 
that I had in mind. There was no handkerchief tied on the 
occasion, but on the train coming home Dr. Hodgson told 
me of a most interesting experiment with himself in which 
the handkerchief had been used to bandage his own eyes and 
he showed me how almost impossible it is to wholly exclude 
vision on the part of a shrewd person by bandaging the eyes. 
This, of course, is not indicated in the statements of the com- 

I02 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

municator, but it is near enough to remind me of what he had 
said and as any allusion to a handkerchief in this connection 
is pertinent one must imagine that the incident which I have 
mentioned was actually intended and that either his own 
amnesic condition of the misapprehension of the trance per- 
sonality in control is responsible for the mistake. 

The opinion expressed of the medium on the occasion is 
the opinion that he held about the case .when living and so 
is a point in identity though it cannot be used to reflect on 
her character in any respect, as one may hold that the evi- 
dence for fraud was not satisfactory. But Dr. Hodgson was 
very fully convinced that there was no reason to believe it 

It is interesting to remark the allusion to not telling me 
what I was thinking of at the time. I doubt if any other 
communicator than Dr. Hodgson would think of this point. 
He was so familiar with the objection to the spiritistic hy- 
pothesis from telepathy that he was always on the lookout 
for the facts that told against this objection and here it turns 
up as a habit of thought which few would manifest. 

The last incident is quite as important as any of the 
others. Nearly two years before I had had an experiment 
with a psychic out west, a non-professional case — I would 
not quote a professional type — and I not only obtained some 
important names, but I received the Christian name of 
George Pelham in response to the request that my father 
bring the man there who had helped him communicate in the 
Piper case, and this was not known by the woman. After- 
ward George Pelham stated through Mrs. Piper that he had 
gotten his Christian name through in this case. This is the 
reason that Dr. Hodgson thought it a good one on the whole. 

The communications quoted were followed by an allusion 
to the newspaper stories about his " returning." No men- 
tion was made of the papers, but only of the stories to that 
effect. I then asked him if he had been anywhere and he 
replied that he had tried though not very successfully and 
then said he had tried with the " young girl." The perti- 
nence of this will be apparent to the reader after noting the 
incident narrated earlier in this paper. I then asked if he 

Experiments with Mrs, Piper. 103 

had tried at the case in which I had been interested so long. 
I referred to the Smead case not yet published. The reply 
was as follows : 

" I will tell a message I tried to give. I said I had found 
things better than I thought I had. I also spoke of your 
father. Do you remember this. I am Hodgson. I have 
found things better than I hoped." He then made an allu- 
sion to my hypnotic experiment with a student, but as this 
had been published in my Report on the Piper case the men- 
tion of it has no value. 

There was a number of allusions to Dr. Hodgson in the 
automatic writing of Mrs. Smead before she knew of his 
death which had been carefully concealed from her by Mr. 
Smead, and one or two apparitions of him associated with a 
frequent apparition of myself. At one sitting the name of 
my father was associated with that of Dr. Hodgson, but 
there was no statement that he had found things better than 
he had hoped. There were many pertinent statements 
which have no place in this account further than to mention 
the fact, and later the very language here stated as having 
been given through this case was found in my record of it, 
save the reference to the way in which he found things. 

I come now to a set of incidents which are perhaps as im- 
portant as any one could wish. I had an arrangement for 
three sittings beginning March 19th (1906). Previous to 
this I arranged to have a sitting with a lady whom I knew 
well in New York City. She was not a professional psychic, 
but a lady occupying an important position in one of the large 
corporations in this city. This sitting was on the night of 
March i6th, Friday. At this sitting Dr. Hodgson purported 
to be present. His name was written and some pertinent 
things said with reference to myself, though they were not 'n 
any respect evidential. Nor could I attach evidential valdi 
to the giving of his name as the lady knew well that he had 
died. I put away my record of the facts and said nothing 
about the result to any one. I went on to Boston to have 
my sittings with Mrs. Piper. 

Soon after the beginning of the sitting Rector, the trance 
personality usually controlling, wrote that he seen me " at 

I04 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 

another light," that he had brought Hodgson there, but that 
they could not make themselves clear, and asked me if I had 
understood them. I asked when it was and received the 
reply that it was two days before Sabbath. The reader will 
see that this coincides with the time of the sitting in New 
York. Some statements were then made by Rector about 
the difficulty of communicating there, owing to the " inter- 
vention of the mind of the light," a fact coinciding with my 
knowledge of the case, and stated that they had tried to send 
through a certain word, which in fact I did not get. 

When Dr. Hodgson came a few minutes afterward to 
communicate he at once asked me, after the usual form of his 
greeting, if I had received his message, and on my reply that 
I was not certain he asked me to try the lady some day again. 
As soon as the sitting was over I wrote to the lady without 
saying a word of what had happened and arranged for an- 
other sitting with her for Saturday evening the 24th. 

At this sitting one of the trance personalities of the Piper 
case, one who does not often apear there, appeared at this 
sitting with Miss X. as I shall call her and wrote his name, 
if that form of expression be allowed. Miss X. had heard of 
this personality, but knew that Rector was the usual amanu- 
ensis in the Piper case. Immediately following the trance 
personality whose name was writtenDr. Hodgson purported 
to communicate and used almost the identical phrases with 
which he begins his communications in the Piper case — in 
fact, several words were identical, and they are not the usual 
introduction of other communicators. After receiving this 
message I wrote to Mr. Henry James, Jr., without saying 
what I had gotten and asked him to interrogate Dr. Hodgson 
when he got a sitting to know if he had recently been com- 
municating with me and if he answered in the affirmative, to 
ask Dr. Hodgson what he had told me. About three weeks 
after Mr. James had his sitting and carried out my request. 
Dr. Hodgson replied that he had been trying to communicate 
with me several Sabbaths previously and stated with some 
approximation to it the message which I had received on the 
evening of the 24th. 

Experiments with Mrs, Piper. 105 

The reader will perceive that these incidents involve cross 
references with another psychic than Mrs. Piper, and though 
I am familiar with the methods by which professional me- 
diums communicate with each other about certain persons 
who can be made victims of their craft it must be remem- 
bered that we are not dealing with a professional medium in 
Miss X. and that we can not call Mrs. Piper this in the ordi- 
nary use of the term. I can vouch for the trustworthiness of 
Miss X. and think that the ordinary explanation of the coin- 
cidences will not apply in this instance. 

The next day after the sitting just mentioned when Dr. 
Hodgson came to communicate he asked me if I remembered 
anything about the cheese we had at a lunch in his room. 
At first I thought of an incident not connected with a lunch, 
but with an attempt at intercommunication between two 
mediums in which a reference to cheese coming from Dr. 
Hodgson was made, but as soon as the mention of a lunch 
was made which had no relevance to what I was thinking of, 
I recalled the interesting circumstance that once, and only 
once, I had had a midnight lunch with Dr. Hodgson at the 
Tavern Club when he made a Welsh rarebit and we had a 
delightful time. 

Another incident is still more important as representing 
a fact which I did not know and which was relevant to a 
mutual friend who was named and who knew the fact. At 
this same sitting Dr. Hodgson sent his love to Prof. New- 
bold, of the University of Pennsylvania, and told me to ask 
him if he remembered being with him near the ocean on the 
beach. I inquired of Prof. Newbold if this had any perti- 
nence to him and he replied that the last time he saw Dr. 
Hodgson was in the previous July at the ocean beach. 

At the next sitting I had the " young light " present for 
certain experimental purposes. After the communications 
relevant to her and after she had left the room Dr. Hodgson 
asked me if I remembered the meeting we had had with her 
and what he had said about her hysteria, saying that he ex- 
plained it as a partial case of hysteria. The facts were that, 
after our meeting with the young lady and while we were 
walking to a friend's for dinner. Dr. Hodgson remarked to 

io6 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

me that he thought there was some hysteria in the case and 
that she was a very clever girl, the last remark being repeated 
here on this occsaion through Mrs. Piper. 

At a sitting on April 25th after an allusion to telepathy 
in which he said there was none of this in the process except 
in what came from his mind to me through Mrs. Piper, Dr. 
Hodgson too-, ap another important message whose truth 
and importance I learned accidentally some time afterward. 
He said, in the automatic writing of Mrs. Piper: 

" Do you remember a man we heard of in — No, in Wash- 
ington, and what I said about trying to see him ? 

(What man was that?) 
" A light. 

(A real light?) 

" Yes, I heard of him just before I came over. Perhaps 
I did not write you about this." 

Now Dr. Hodgson had not written me about any such dis- 
covery and the statements had no meaning to me. In June 
I had some business in Washington and on the 13th I acci- 
dentally met a gentleman in charge of a department in one 
of the largest business houses there and in the course of our 
conversation he casually mentioned that he had written to 
Dr. Hodgson a short time before his death about a man there 
who showed signs of mediumistic powers. It happened that 
I knew the man and had received from him some years previ- 
ously an interesting experience. I had not heard from him 
for several years. He is employed in a very important office. 
In my conversation with the first mentioned gentleman I 
learned that recently this other man referred to had clearly 
shown indications of mediumistic powers. Here then was 
the possible explanation of the allusion at this sitting on 
April 25th. I had known absolutely nothing of the facts 
until thus mentioned at the sitting and afterward verified in 
the way described. 

I am not going to enter into any elaborate theoretical ex- 

-©lanation of these incidents. As I have already said, the 

lentific man will attach less value to what purports to come 

>m Dr. Hodgson through Mrs. Piper than if it came from 

me one else. Besides I am not anxious to insist upon ex- 

Experiments with Mrs, Piper. 107 

planations at present. The most important point is to have 
the facts, and if there were space in this Journal I would be 
glad to give the detailed records, since these are the data- 
which a really scientific man wishes. But I cannot satisfy 
him in this publication. I desire only to excuse the demand 
for the investigation of such phenomena. It will be appar- 
ent, I think, to every man that these statements through Mrs. 
Piper are not due to chance, and that, if we have reason to 
believe that Mrs. Piper had not previously acquired by nor- 
mal means the information conveyed, we have facts which do 
not have an ordinary explanation. What the true explana- 
tion is we need not insist upon. Every one knows what 
hypothesis I would suggest in the case, but I wish less to 
keep in the front any supernormal explanation of the phe- 
nomena than I do the facts. It is easier to quarrel with 
theories than it is with facts and if we have any reason to 
trust the phenomena as supernormal I am quite willing to 
leave their ultimate cause to the scientific psychologist. I 
should do no more than hold him responsible for the evi- 
dence that any other theory than the superficial one actually 
applies. But there need be no haste in the adoption of any 
special theory. It is the collection of similar phenomena that 
is now the most important task before us, and the present 
paper is to encourage support for the immense task in- 

io8 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 


The article on experiments with Mrs. Piper since the 
death of Dr. Richard Hodgson is one of those which we ex- 
pect to publish in early numbers of the Journal. The second 
article will represent evidential incidents involving " cross 
references '* with other cases. The third article will contain 
matter bearing on the conditions aflfecting the " communica- 

By request Dr. R. Heber Newton withdraws his resigna- 
tion and so remains on the Board of Trustees of the Ameri- 
can Institute for Scientific Research. Mr. Charles Griswold 
Bourne, owing to inability to accept the responsibility of 
serving, has resigned from the same. 

Mr. Hereward Carrington, author of " The Physical 
Phenomena of Spiritualism," which is now in press, and a 
trained prestidigatator, has accepted a place on the Council 
of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

It was not possible to indicate in the list of members 
published last month in all cases the exact status of some of 
them. The contributors to the fund for preliminary organ- 
ization did not wish to be named, and so they were classified 
in a manner to conceal their rank as Founders and Patrons. 
It was the same with several others. At present I can only 
indicate that Life Fellows, Life Members, and Life Associates 
are already numerous enough to make the permanent fund 
which cannot be used equal to the sum of $2,000. This is to 
be treated as the basis of a permanent endowment fund. If 
a sufficient endowment is obtained at an early date the fund 
now in hand for preliminary organization will be added to it 
and only its income used. This would meet the preferences 
of those who made the contribution, though they appreciated 
the needs of the work so fully as to permit the use of the 
entire amount if the circumstances required it. It is hoped 
that the occasion may not arise in which the principal will 
have to be spent. 

Editorial. 109 

It may be important to say to members and readers of the 
Journal that it will not be a primary object of this publication 
to explain the facts which it reports. We are engaged in the 
task of collecting data and it is not in place to offer a theory 
for every individual fact, new or old, that we discover. Ex- 
planation has its place in dealing with large masses of phe- 
nomena. There has been too much speculation in regard to 
psychic research theories and too much concession to the 
merely popular demand for a theory or an explanation. We 
are not yet prepared for any explanation of the supernormal 
as a whole. Only in one field of it are we entitled to indulge 
explanatory hypotheses. We have still to collect and certify 
our facts in large numbers before we can be justified in ad- 
vancing large theories regarding them. Our primary prob- 
lem, then, is to assure ourselves that the facts alleged are 
really what they claim to be. And also it will be important 
to watch for those accidents and associations accompanying 
them which tend to throw light upon their larger meaning. 
But it will not be the first object of this Journal to advance 
an explanation every time it publishes a fact or alleged fact. 
It is true that psychic research has gone far enough to dis- 
cuss hypotheses, and we shall do this under the proper cir- 
cumstances. But many facts do not yet lend themselves 
either to the confirmation or refutation of these hypotheses, 
and we have to await a larger collection of them before as- 
signing them an explanation. 


There is another important matter to emphasize for read- 
ers. It is the distinction between the real and the evidential 
nature of reported phenomena. One of our most important 
tasks is to secure reports which have evidential value, that is, 
characteristics which prove something unusual. Many facts 
are explicable by a theory which they do not prove. Many 
facts also can be conceded to be genuinely supernormal, after 
the supernormal has once been proved, but they often carry 
no evidence of the character which they may really possess. 

It is necessary to remark this distinction because the 
policy of the Journal must be critical, and readers must learn 
that the pointing out of evidential weaknesses may not 

no Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 

destroy the genuineness of the facts though it does impair 
their evidential force. The reduction of proof is not the de- 
struction of faci. It often seems so, because in the first 
stages of any new truth it cannot be held until proved. But 
once established by rigid scientific methods many facts which 
could not pass the ordeal of evidential standards may come 
in to find an explanation and acceptance under theories which 
they did not prove, and may even in certain accidents afford 
valuable light for the general problem. Hence it is hoped 
that readers will understand from our policy of critical analy- 
sis that we are dealing primarily with an evidential rather 
than an explanatory problem and so be patient with what 
might otherwise appear to be a destructive purpose. 

Readers must not misunderstand the nature of the prob- 
lem in the reproduction of results obtained by experiment 
with Mrs. Piper since the death of Dr. Hodgson. In the 
present stage of investigation we have to assume the possible 
or probable truth of Materialism in order to test its validity 
by trying the application of it to such facts as are here re- 
ported. Those who have other grounds for belief in survival 
after death naturally look for some revelation of wonderful 
importance. But it must be remembered that we are not at 
present concerned with any such view of the issue. It is as 
impossible as it is absurd to look at it from this point of view 
as long as we are deficient in evidence that there is a spiritual 
world of any kind. Our primary business is to see if the 
prevailing materialistic view is tenable, and if it is so, it must 
be able to explain supernormal knowledge which shows a 
direct and selective reference to the personal identity of de- 
ceased persons. 

It is not our object to get into communication with the 
deceased simply for the sake of communication. We assume 
that there are no spirits with whom to communicate and that 
we must have a certain type of phenomena in order to justify 
the belief that spirits exist. Communication with them is an 
incident of proof, not a process of acquiring knowledge about 
them. If spirits exist and if they can communicate with us 
at all they can prove their existence by telling us incidents 

Editorial. iii 

from memory of their past terrestrial life for the purpose of 
proving their identity, and proof of that identity is absolutely 
essential to the belief that they exist. Only the most trivial 
incidents will ever prove this identity ,as any one will readily 
perceive who has thought for a moment upon what he would 
have to do when his identity is questioned. Hence as we 
are engaged in the preliminary work of scientific inquiry re- 
garding this fundamental issue, readers must expect us to 
limit our problem and to continue at it until general convic- 
tion is established, if that be possible. We shall not allow 
ourselves to be diverted away from it by the demands of 
those who do not intelligently recognize the issue. Until 
scientific scepticism has been satisfied of the supernormal and 
of phenomena that suggest evidentially the continuance of 
personal consciousness we cannot take up other problems, 
however desirable they may seem. 


. The circular which we published in the January 
Journal explaining the nature and object of the American 
Institute and its Sections refers to the formation of local so- 
cieties for the work of psychic research as a desirable means 
of enlarging the interests and usefulness of such investiga- 
tions. In thus encouraging such endeavors we do not mean 
that it is advisable to have a number of wholly independent 
bodies working alone, but groups of members of the central 
body organized for more serious interest and assistance in the 
general aims of the Institute. A plan may be matured later 
for the interchanging of material among the various groups 
for the purpose of their meetings. That, however, is a mat- 
ter for future consideration. The first object is to encourage 
the co-operation of local members in the collection of phe- 
nomena of importance in the work of psychical research and 
the co-operation of such local groups with the central organ- 
ization. The phenomena with which psychic research has to 
deal are exceedingly sporadic compared with the phenomena 
with which physical science usually has to occupy itself. 
They are not individually sufficient generally to prove any 

112 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

special explanation of them and have to be collected, as were 
incidents about meteors, in order to justify the application of 
any large hypothesis and to understand the subsidiary influ- 
ences affecting its integrity. Consequently the only safe 
procedure in such circumstances will be the united effort of 
all that are interested to give supernormal and other experi- 
ences that value which only a collective mass of them can 
have. In psychic research we cannot well scatter our ener- 
gies, at least in the present nature of the inquiry. 

It will be desirable to allow each local society all the free- 
dom possible. The central body or the American Institute 
will not assume responsibility for the direction of their work, 
nor will it wish to interfere in any way with their organization 
or the appointment of officers. It may be desirable, in some 
cases at least, that the important officers should be acceptable 
to the central body as a guarantee of the proper co-operation 
with them in a common cause and of the acceptability of re- 
ports made to the central society. But that may be the most 
that the Council of the American Society would wish to ask. 
Each independent group should have as much freedom of 
action as possible and the main reason for general co-opera- 
tion is the necessity of combining the results of investigation 
in a way to give them the collective force of which they may 
be capable and the largest possible scientific interest and 
form. Phenomena of this kind have too long been allowed 
to perish or to lose their value simply because they have not 
received the imprimatur of scientific bodies. The larger and 
wider the co-operation in collecting and certifying the facts 
the more important the result and the more effective their 
influence in moulding human conviction. 

The most important thing which the central body will 
expect will be the reporting of all records to it for filing and 
publication. As the utmost freedom is conceded to local 
groups the central society will have to exercise its own judg- 
ment in the manner of dealing with the phenomena so re- 
ported and perhaps, in some cases at least, add its own in- 
quiries regarding the facts reported. One of the Society's 
most important duties will be to deal with its material in the 
manner which promises to be most effective in supporting 

Editorial. 113 

its claims. It cannot always agree to deal with the facts on 
their own merits alone, but it must select and combine them 
in a way to give them that scientific value which will affect 
human conviction most cogently. Some facts may be very 
important in themselves and to those who have been con- 
vinced of the supernormal, but they may not always have the 
characteristics which are calculated to influence others, and 
especially those who have not had the opportunity to witness 
them or their like, or to know the persons with whom the 
phenomena have occurred or by whom collected. Hence the 
Council of the central body will have to use discretion in the 
classification and publication of matter, choosing time and 
matter with reference to the greatest effectiveness which re- 
ports may have for influencing scientific interest. Availabil- 
ity as well as intrinsic worth will have to be a consideration in 
the use of matter, and often this secondary merit may suffice 
to give precedence to public consideration where incidents 
of greater intrinsic importance may have to be reserved for 
later notice. Publication will not be a test or the only test 
of scientific merit, but at times merely an evidence of char- 
acteristics that are calculated to attract favorable considera- 
tion. The whole policy of publication must be directed with 
reference to the psychological status of human interest and 

The economy and scientific importance of this policy will 
hardly be questioned and it will remain only to give it form 
and effectiveness. Local bodies can carry on their investiga- 
tions and report them to the central body for record and 
such use as the general cause necessitates, while they may 
also be recipients of what other and similar bodies report. 
The work may thus obtain the importance which belongs to 
such transactions as those of the Royal Society in England, 
while the financial work is assumed by the central organiza- 
tion. Endowment funds may thus be concentrated and ad- 
ministered in the most economic and efficient manner while 
the work itself is widened and deepened. 

This policy I think will recommend itself to all who have 
psychic research at heart, and it is hoped that this continent 
may not see divided counsels in the prosecution of its investi- 

114 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 

gations. We are engaged, not merely in determining our 
own personal convictions, but in the more difficult task of 
influencing the convictions of others who may not be so 
fortunate as to have close personal contact with important 
facts, and hence the largest possible co-operation is necessary. 
To make this effective, however, the largest possible freedom 
of association and action will be necessary, such as may be 
compatible with the interests of the general work and at the 
same time such as may impose upon these independent 
groups the strictest responsibility for the scientific integrity 
and worth of the facts reported. The general Society may 
impose the criteria and conditions upon which it will accept 
the satisfactory nature of reports, whether for private record 
or for public use. With this understanding there need be no 
solicitude regarding the utility and wisdom of a very com- 
prehensive system of co-operation. 


The Society assumes no responsibility for anything published 
imder this head and no indorsement is implied, except that it has 
been furnished by an apparently trustworthy contributor whose 
name is given unless withheld at his own request. 

The following experience was written out and sent to me 
immediately after its occurrence. Mr. Carrington is a mem- 
ber of the Council of the American Society for Psychical Re- 
sarch and has been a contributor to the Proceedings of the 
English Society. We are not primarily interested in an ex- 
planation of the incident, but in the record of it as an actual 
experience. It is called a " collective " hallucination because 
it is that at least, whatever else it may be. It does not super- 
ficially suggest its explanation, but I think it can safely be 
accepted as a fact of some interest in coincidences whether 
we choose to regard it as a causal or casual one. We might 
implicate the phenomena in- telepathy, but this would hardly 
be an explanation, and we could not treat it alone as adequate 
proof of this. 

Incidents. 115 


On the night of July 21, 1906, I had staying with me a friend 
whom I shall designate by the initials L. K. (I am not at liberty 
to use the full name for publication.) The morning of the 22nd. 
being Sunday, we were both sleeping rather late, as we had both 
been working hard the previous evening, 'till past one A. M. I 
was sound asleep when I was suddenly and thoroughly awakened 
by the sound of a coin dropping on 'to a wooden surface — ^it 
seemed spinning round and round before finally falling flat down 
—as coins frequently do. I had an idea the coin was an Ameri- 
can cent and that the surface it was spinning on was solid wood. 
As I say, I woke up at once and completely. At the same instant 
my friend sat up in bed, and said, " What was that? " and looked 
across the room to the very spot where I had located the sound. 
L. K. had also been suddenly and completely awakened by the 
sound of the falling coin (the vision in this case being that of a 
quarter), and the sound designated as that produced by the coin 
spinning on a solid wooden surface. The remark that a "vision" 
of a spinning coin was seen was volunteered. The first thought 
that occurred to both of us, I think, was — "There's some one in 
the house !" We both instantly jumped out of bed, and ran into 
the other rooms in turn — looking for some one to lay hands on — 
but there was no one in the place — nor did a careful search reveal 
any coin anywhere on the floor or elsewhere. The floor is bare 
boards with rugs. The time was almost exactly 8.30 A., M. The 
reasons for not thinking it a real coin are (i) The fact that none 
was anywhere discovered, as the result of a search. (2) It would 
have been impossible for any to have dropped, because there was 
no money lying around loose anywhere — e. g., all slanting up- 
wards, and not in a downward angle. (I noticed this in making 
the search.) It should be noticed, on the other hand, that (i) 
the sound woke us both up, at precisely the same instant. (2) 
That, in both cases, the awakening was instantaneous and very 
complete. (3) That we both had a dream-like vision of a coin 
spinning (though they were of different values). (4) We both 
located the sound in the same part of the room--exactly. (5) 
That to both of us — the sound was identical, i. e., it sounded to 
us both as though spun on wood. (6) It struck us both as a 
very extraordinary kind of sound at the time. The fact that we 
were both awakened so completely and instantaneously, argues 
for its subjectiveness, as it would require much more than a coin 
spinning to wake me up normally — I being a very sound sleeper. 
This is also true in the case of L. K. It seems to me a clear case 
of collective audotory hallucination of a very interesting type, 
and throws a light on some sounds heard by some persons coin- 

ii6 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

cidentally in haunted houses (See e. g. " The Alleged Haunting 
of B — House," p. 92, etc.) The fact is recorded, however, with- 
out offering any theory by way of explanation. 


July 22, 1906 (9.10 A. M.) 

I have read the above account, and hereby certify that it is 
precisely correct in so far as my own observation of the occur- 
rence goes, and wherein it relates to myself. L. K. 

July 22, 1906 (9.15 A. M.) 



The following was an experience of a personal acquaint- 
ance of myself. The lady is a perfectly reliable and intelli- 
gent witness. She has also had many experiences in auto- 
matic writing, some of them bearing evidence of being super- 
normal and after the type of those exhibited by Mrs. Piper 
and similar cases. It seems, when the present premonition 

occurred, Miss M not only had no reason to believe that 

the event would take place, but in fact rather had reason not 
to expect it. Inquiry seems to show that the engagement 
did not yet exist. 

June 22, 1906. 
Dr. James H. Hyslop, 

My dear Dr. Hyslop : 

In February or March, 1905, I was dressing near the 
mirror in the morning and the impression came to me that my 
sister Anna would be married in October (1905). I either said 
aloud or thought in half utterance: "Well, I would. That's a 
good idea." 

My sister was not then engaged to the gentleman I had in 

mind, Dr. Q , but had been besought by him for years and 

refused. My sister could not make up her mind in the matter. 
But she and Dr. Q were married in the latter part of Sep- 
tember, 1905. M. M. 

While we cannot treat such an incident as evidential of 
anything supernormal it will interest the student of psychol- 
ogy to know that it is but one experience among others of a 
different type in the same subject. Miss M. has developed 
automatic writing and has shown some evidence of super- 
-^mal intelligence in it. Most of it is amenable to the hy- 

Book Reviews, 117 

pothesis of subliminal or secondary personality, but with 
occasional incidents of a supernormal character the occur- 
rence of spontaneous incidents of this kind have an interest 
in connection with the probable unity of all such phenomena. 


The Subconscious. By Joseph Jastrow, Professor of Psychol- 
ogy in the University of Wisconsin. Boston and New York: 
Houghton, MufHin & Co., 1906. London: Archibald Constable 
& Co., Ltd. 

Since the time when, as Professor Richet has remarked, it 
required a certain courage to pronounce the word " sonambul- 
ism," there has indeed been a very considerable advance in psy- 
chological inquiry and discovery. A generation ago, Psychology 
was the science of the normal, waking alert consciousness ; it was 
a kind of sunlit terrace — to use Prof. James' simile — which could 
be measured and mapped out with precision. In recent years, 
however, there has occurred a remarkable extension of the scope 
of psychological investigation, and the ground outside the terrace 
has become a scene of busy exploration by many and variously 
equipped pioneers. In France — to drop metaphor and to resume 
psychological terminology — ^the inquiry into the more obscure 
forms of mental functioning has been prosecuted almost entirely 
along the lines of hypnotism — and important work has been done 
by Liebeault, Binet and Fere, Bernheim, and others of the ^ancy 
school. In England there has also been a fair amount of ex- 
perimental research bv hypnotic methods — chiefly, as in France, 
in connection with Therapeutics. Dr. J. Milne Bramwell has 
published what may well be considered the standard work on the 

But the most important part of the investigation in England 
has undoubtedly been that which was undertaken by the Society 
for Psychical Research, and which is associated pre-eminently 
with the name of F. W. H. Myers, who, as Prof. James has said, 
made this part of psychology so much his own that the problem 
of the exploration of man's outlying mental tracts may conveni- 
ently be termed " Myers' problem." It is, however, in some re- 
spects, unfortunate that Myers was so greatly preoccupied with 
the question of man's survival of bodily death; for his monu- 
mental work on Human Personality is to some extent lessened in 
the eyes of psychologists by its author's manifest and admitted 
desire to find evidence in support of such survival. It is there- 
fore not surprising to find that Prof. Jastrow, who now presents 
us with the first important work yet published in America on this 

ii8 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 

aspect of psychological inquiry, has been almost entirely unable 
to derive help or benefit from the work of his English predecessor 
in this field, though giving due meed of praise to his discerning 
labors ; for, to the cautious, conservative psychologist, Myers has 
been led by his emotional inclinations to erect a superstructure 
of theory which is altogether too stupendous for the fact founda- 
tions on which it is based. 

Professor Jastrow's book is, as we have just said, the most 
important contribution to the literature of what may be called 
orthodox transmarg^nal psychology that has yet been published 
in America. It is an elaborate and careful survey, more descrip- 
tive than explanatory, of many different varieties of subcon- 
scious mental functioning, in normal 'and abnormal states. The 
ordinary waking consciousness is taken as the normal, and the 
abnormal states dealt with are sleep, natural and induced, un- 
usual states induced by drugs, states of dissociation of person- 
ality and so forth. It is pointed out how, in the normal state, 
deliberately initiated actions, such as walking, speaking a lan- 
guage, etc., become automatic to such an extent that they can be 
carried on while the consciousness is otherwise occupied. We 
can discuss questions which require great concentration of at- 
tention, without consciously directing the muscles which we are 
using in walking or articulating. Next in order come those 
sensory and motor lapses of consciousness in which the per- 
ception, or the knowledge of our act, does not at the time come 
within the area of consciousness ; as when " Miss X " reserved 
the date of the Times by visualizing another part of the paper 
which she had consciously noted, and as when the clergyman 
" sent round the plate " a second time, unconscious of the fact 
that the collection had already been taken. 

From consideration of many interesting cas^s of this kind, 
Professor Jastrow goes on to cases of subconscious functioning 
in abnormal states. An interesting illustration of this category 
is the case of Professor Hilprecht's dream, in which was solved, 
with much subconscious dramatization, a problem concerning a 
Babylonian inscription which had baffled the waking conscious- 
ness. Here we have a kind of transition stage between normal 
and abnormal processes ; for "the purpose of the waking state was 
carried over into the dream state," and there fulfilled with the 
accompaniment of typically subconscious and fanciful setting. 
From such cases as these it is not a long step, via somnambulism 
hypnosis to those cases of disintegration of personality or parti- 
tioning of consciousness which Professor Jastrow suitably illus- 
trates by quoting the now well known case of Mile. " Helene 
Smith." In the phenomena observed in connection with Miss 
Smith's trances and impressions, which have been carefully 

Book RexHews. 119 

studied and recorded by Professor Flourney, of Geneva,* there is 
an extreme form of subconscious functioning which seems at first 
sight so different from the normal personality of the sensitive as 
to suggest a foreign intelligence or " spirit control." But on ex- 
amination it is evident, as Flourney has shown, that " Leopold " 
and his confreres are made of the same stuff as the Assyrian 
priest in Professor Hilprecht's dream. They are in a state of 
more complete and permanent segregation, but they may safely 
be classed under the same heading as fragments of the incarnate 
personality. The structure of the Martian language shows that 
it is based on French, the only language that is well known to 
Miss Smith, and the Sanscrit of the " Hindoo pre-i near nation " 
does* not exceed what might have been picked up and forgotten, 
besides showing its subconcious origin by its internal contradic- 

Such is Professor Jastrow's work, in so far as it can be repre- 
sented by a brief allusion to its principal features of detail. It 
will perhaps hot be without interest to view it now in more gen- 
eral fashion, and to glance for a moment at its relation to the 
theory of the " Subliminal," which was worked out in such detail 
by the pertinacious genius of F. W. H. Myers. Professor Jas- 
trow's book is, as we have said, descriptive rather than explana- 
tory. It aims at " the more precise comprehension of those man- 
ifestations of consciousness, and of those varieties of its activities 
that take place below the threshold of our fully awakening 
minds " (p. 7) ; it is an exposition which " considers respectively 
the functioning of subconscious processes in the normal and 
abnormal mental life" (p. 168). With much literary charm, 
pertinent illustration, and apt analogy, we are led gradually from 
the brightly illuminated area where the search light of attention 
shows up every mental detail, away through semi-obscure 
regions, where we see grotesque yet familiar forms, to the dark- 
ness of the outer confines where what is visible seems to suggest 
a foreign land. Yet our way has been made step by step, and 
with no jumping of unexplored gaps or chasms; we have pro- 
ceeded by gradual stages, perceiving analogy and relation be- 
tween the more bf zarre fact, as we arrive at it, and the less 
strange fact which we have just quitted. Discontinuity is graded 
down by suitable illustrations of transition processes, or we see 
that the mind is a unity ; that the beads are all strung on the same 

The old psychology restricted itself to the " sunlit terrace " of 
waking consciousness, and consequently had to retire in favor of 
theology in face of such problems as alleged " possession ; " but 

♦**Fnmi India to the Planet Mars, also Nouvellcs observatious sur de 

I20 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

modern inquiry, by close interrogation and examination of nature 
in the sphere of mind, has established an unbroken connection 
between the most orthodox psychological facts and the baroque 
" possession phenomena " of a Miss Smith. Science is largely 
an affair of the binding together of phenomena by observation of 
analogies and resemblances, and the consequent formulation of 
laws ; it must advance from the known to the less known, making 
good its links as it goes on grappling the bits of the known in 
the less known, to the existing sum of known, and thus steadily 
accreting and enlarging. Of this process is the realm of psychol- 
ogy. The Subconscious furnishes an interesting and inspiring 
illustration. Almost the only objection that can be urged against 
it, is, that the arbitrariness of selection excludes many phenomena 
which might justifiably be expected to appear. The evidence for 
the absence of common fraud, and consequently the probability 
of interesting forms of mental process, whatever the ultimate 
source may be, is admittedly much greater in cases of Mrs. Fiper 
and Mrs. Thompson than in that of Miss Smith ; yet the latter is 
taken and the former are left. 

It is true that Professor Jastrow at the outset announces his 
intention of excluding such phenomena as cannot be coupled up 
with normal phenomena by more or less close analogy of process ; 
and the exclusion is perfectly legitimate, though seeming to carry 
with it an implication which is doubtless unintended. If the 
Piper and Thompson phenomena are in no case due to " spirit 
agency," it is obvious that they fall to an explanation by the 
Subconsciousness of the Sensitives ; and they might thus reason- 
ably be looked for in a book bearing the title t)f the volume under 
discussion. Their exclusion seems to indicate that they are not 
looked on as subconscious, and the inference may be drawn that 
Professor Jastrow regards them as genuinely spiritistic — an in- 
ference which, though logically justified, would be far from repre- 
senting truly the Professor's opinions. Some other choice of 
title would have obviated the possibility of such a mistaken im- 

Finally, as to the relation of Professor Jastrow's "subcon- 
scious " to the " subliminal " of Mr. Myers. It seems to me that 
the relation and similarity are closer than the former writer ap- 
pears to think, and that he is under some slight misconception on 
certain points. Certainly I have never heard of the theory of the 
subliminal self being applied as "a plea for the supernatural" 
(p. 535 ) ; and I think that those who held it are not very guilty 
of " occult " leanings. In fact it may be contended with some 
plausibility that the theory of the " subliminal " is the only alter- 
native to still greater admissions ; that it is held, not out of love 
for the " occult," but as yielding foothold to a conservative in- 

Treasurer's Report, 121 

vestigation in face of a rising tide of supernormal phenomena 
which threatens otherwise to sweep him away into still more 
dubious and dangerous regions. I know quite well that many 
people, chiefly, if not entirely those who have not investigated, 
do in fact see no need for any theory even as far reaching as that 
of the " subliminal," and for them the position of Professor Jas- 
trow is perfectly sensible and logical. It is a matter of evidence 
as to whether certain phenomena do or do not occur ; and until 
we are compelled to accept the facts, there is no necessity for ap- 
parently too imaginative theories. There is greater danger from 
haste than from conservatism, and it is well that the leaders of 
thought in these matters should preach caution and care, lest the 
uninstructed rush into the excesses of credulity. Recognizing 
this, we are sure that Professor Jastrow's able exposition will be 
warmly welcomed as a valuable addition to the literature of Psy- 
chology, even by those whose experience has driven them to take 
up a somewhat more advanced position. 

Bradford, England. J. ARTHUR HILL. 

Treasurer's Report. 

The following is the Report of the Secretary and Treas- 
urer of the Society presented to the Board of Trustees of the 
American Institute for Scientific Research as an account of 
funds received therefrom for the work of the Society. 


Subsidy from the American Institute $1,000.00 


Printing and Stationery $241.85 

Office furniture 63.35 

Stamps 194.00 

Typewriting machine 100.00 

Investigation of cases 14855 

Assistant's salary 160.00 

Miscellaneous 268.25 

Total disbursements $1,186.00 

Secretary and Treasurer. 

122 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 



Mr. H. W. Desmond, Cranford, N. J. 
Mrs. Henry Draper, 271 Madison Ave., New York. 
Prof. J. D. Forrest, 30 Audubon Place, Indianapolis, Ind. 
Frederick William Frankland, Foxton, New Zealand. 
Mrs. Julia R. Lecocq, 641 Monroe Street, Brooklyn, N. Y. 


Mr. J. W. Bemis, 704 Equitable Building, St. Louis, Mo. 

Miss Mary Cassatt, 10 Rue de Marignais, Paris, France. 

Mr. George L. Douglass, 184 La Salle St., Chicago, 111. 

Mary E. Dowson, Merry Hall, Ashtead, Surrey, England. 

Mr. L. O. Erickson, 663 Boulevard Loop, Highland Park, Wee- 
hawken, N. J. 

Mr. William Esty, 85 Elm Street, Worcester, Mass. 

Rev.' W. H. Fishburn, D. D., 519 Linden Street, Camden, N. J. 

Mrs. D. U. Fletcher, 240 West Church Street, Jacksonville, Fla. 

Mr. Charles T. Ford, Central Valley, N. Y. 

Mrs. M. B. Greenwood, Anaconda, Montana. 

Miss Ellen S. Groot, Murray Hill Hotel, New York City. 

Mr. George T. Hughes, 9 Clarke Ave., Jersey City, N. J. 

Miss Margaret Huntington, 35 Remsen Street, Brooklyn, N. Y. 

Immanuel Church, Boston, Mass. 

Mr. B. L. Johnson, Lacrosse, Wis. 

Judge Frank T. Lloyd, Camden, N. J. 

Mrs. Alice May, 15 Decatur Street, Brooklyn, N. Y. 

Prof. Phillip Van Ness Myers, College Hill, Ohio. 

Mrs. Netta H. Perry, 2278 Kenmore Ave., Chicago, 111. 

Michael Petrovo-Solovovo, 24 Sergievskaia, St. Petersburg, Rus- 

Mr. C. A. Snow, 1812 Newton Street, Washington, D. C. 

Elizabeth H. Swinburne, 115 Pelham Street, Newport, R. I. 

August Waerndorfer, 23 Elizabeth Street, Baden, Wien, Austria. 

Mr. Henry L. Wallace, P. O. Box 46, Indianapolis, Ind. 

George W. Wheatley, care Messrs. Grindley Co., 54 Parliament 
Street, Westminster, London, S. W., England. 

Laura J. Wilson, Urbana, Ohio. 

Additional Members. 123 


Mr. John Armstrong Chanler, Cobham, Va. 

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Dr. S. A. Aykroyd, Cor. Princess and Bagot Streets, Kingston, 

Ontario, Canada. 
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Mr. E. T. Brewster, Andover, Mass. 

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Mr. H. StJ. Card, Augusta, Ga. 

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Mr. M. R. Carson, 121 North Main Street. Canandaigua, N. Y. 
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Mr. W. P. Kirkwood, 1625 Wesley Street, St. Paul, Minn. 
Mrs. Emma Klaking, 1137 New Jersey Ave., Washington, D. C. 
Mr. John Lindsey, Milton, Mass. 
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Mrs. Helen C. V. Mann, Grove Point, Great Neck, Long Island, 

N. Y. 
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Mr. Charles L. Newhall, Southbridge, Mass. 
Mrs. George Place, 125 East S7th Street, New York City. 

124 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

State Library, Lansing, Mich. 

Mr. Austin D. Middleton, 127 West 92nd Street, New York City. 

Mrs. Henry Phillips, West 4th Street, Ottumwa, Iowa. 

Mr. Carl Riedel, 1582 East 14th Street, Flatbush, Brooklyn, N. Y. 

Mr. John C. Sheets, Station K, Cincinnati, Ohio. 

Mrs. Henry Siegel, 26 East 82nd Street, New York City. 

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Mrs. Olve Cole Smith, 212 East 46th Street, Chicago, 111. 

Mrs. W. W. Strong, 268 Park Place, Kenosha, Wis. 

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Prof. H. T. Vulte, Teachers' College, Columbia University, New 

York City. 
Mrs. Mary Wilkins, 40 Harcourt Street, Dublin, Ireland. 

Vol L-No. 3. 

Makch, 1907. 



American Society for Psycliicai Research 


Oekikal Axtxclbs: paob 

Further Experiments relating to Dr. 

HodgBoo since his Death - - - - 125 
SpiritSUte-Writinff and Billet Tests - 148 
ExplaaatioD of Mr. Abbott's Articles - 161 
PnbUcation of Proceedinffs - - - 161 
"Tbe American InsUtute for Psychical 


The Scientific Asx»ect of Psychic Re- 
search 163 


A Correction - « • 
A Case of Premonition - 
An Unrecorded Case of 
Waminr - - . - 
A Telepathic Incident 


- 165 

- 165 



Book Rbvxbws: 
Dreams and thdr Meanings - - . 174 


In the previous article I mentioned the most striking inci- 
dents affecting the personal identity of Dr. Richard Hodgson 
and which were hardly explicable by the most obstinate scep- 
tic on any ordinary grounds. There were many incidents 
which those who are familiar with the Piper phenomena and 
Dr. Hodgson's policy in life could very well believe were 
supernormal, but it is hardly advisable to press them into too 
confident a service in favor of undoubted supernormal knowl- 
edge, especially when we may call into use much more strik- 
ing incidents than such as made up the previous paper. The 
present article will extend the important incidents so as to 
exclude more effectively the appeal to ordinary explanations 
of all kinds and to implicate other persons than Mrs. Piper in 
the results. 

One of the first set of incidents in the previous paper was 
one of the type to which special reference will be made in the 
present collection. I mean incidents which we call cases of 
"cross reference." These are incidents and statements ob- 
tained through two or more mediums who do not know the 

126 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 

facts so obtained. Thus, for example, suppose I obtain a 
" message " through the mediumship of A and then have an 
experiment with B who does not know that I have had a sit- 
ting with A, and suppose I received the same " message " 
through B, I am entitled to conjecture the same source for 
both " messages." This will be true on any theory of them. 
The importance to be attached to such results is this : the 
possibility of establishing a certain kind of personal identity 
independently of the communication of past memories, which 
are the first step in proof of a theory of spiritistic sources. 
What we must demand, as already explained, is the obtaining 
of incidents which any living and surviving consciousness 
would naturally report in proof of personal identity when that 
is questioned. When this is once done — and it can be done 
only through memory of the person " communicating " — we 
may resort to all sorts of watch-words given us by a specific 
person and communicated through other mediumistic sources 
in proof of identity where we can exclude all other human 
knowledge of the facts. It would very naturally require a 
larger number of incidents to prove the personal identity of 
a deceased person through one source than to prove its 
identity in a second case after it has been established in the 
first. The reasons for this we need not emphasize, and may 
be apparent to all who have paid any attention to the difficul- 
ties encountered in the study of an individual case. The 
primary reason, however, is that we can most assuredly iso- 
late the medium's possible knowledge in such cases and ren- 
der it less probable that the explanation is due solely to indi- 
vidual idiosyncracies of the person through whom the " mes- 
sage " comes in the first place. 

It is these circumstances which make " cross reference " 
incidents especially cogent and important. I gave but few of 
them in the previous paper and propose to give more of them 
here, as they have been obtained since the experiments which 
were quoted before. I shall also include some incidents, 
which are not cases of " cross reference." I shall summarize 
those of cross reference first as they are the stronger type. 

I first give some incidents which I obtained through aj 
psychic who is not in any respect professional. I have al- 

Further Experiments Relating to Dr. Hodgson. 127 

ready explained the value of such cases. It is that of one 
whose name and identity I am required absolutely to conceal, 
as the lady has such social standing as would be affected by 
the intolerant and uncharitable attitude of the public. I am 
sorry, of course, that I am not able to mention names, but I 
recognize the duty of secrecy in this case and for more rea- 
sons than the one which I have indicated. Primarily I must 
say no one is safe from the modern curse of newspaper re- 
porters and editors, who have no respect for any of the cour- 
tesies and humanities of life. I repeat that this lady is not 
only not a professional psychic, but does not privately experi- 
ment outside the innermost circle of her intimate relatives 
and friends. I shall not give any clue to the part of the coun- 
try in which she lives with her husband and children. I shall 
call the lady Mrs. Quentin. 

I received last spring some samples of her work which 
was with the Ouija board and was so pleased with it that I 
was permitted to be present at an experiment on the date of 
October 4th, 1906. There wer^e five persons present in all; 
except myself, none but intimat;je relatives, of the same social 
rank as Mrs. Quentin. The manner of " communicating " is 
as follows. 

Mrs. Quentin holds her finger tips on a piece of glass like 
the bottom of a tumbler. There is no special reason why it 
should be glass. Under some " influence *' the fingers move 
the glass to the letters of the alphabet which are arranged 
about a central square. After indicating a letter in the pro- 
cess of spelling out " messages " the hand returns to this 
central square, and then, often after a pause, goes to another 
letter of the word which is in the process of spelling. Usually 
a word or sentence is spelled out before a pause takes place. 
Various causes of apparent embarrassment occur to deter- 
mine a pause, but it is not necessary to remark this fact. The 
important circumstance is that the hand moves about over the 
Ouija board pointing out letters which spell out intelligent 
" messages " purporting to come from deceased persons. 
With this conception of what goes on the reader will be pre- 
pared to understand the interest that attaches to some of the 
incidents of the process duplicated through Mrs. Piper. 

128 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

At this experiment the " communicator " purported to be 
George Pelham. This is the published name of a friend of 
Dr. Hodgson's who succeeded in establishing his personal 
identity to Dr. Hodgson through Mrs. Piper and was the 
main subject of the Report on that case by Dr. Hodgson in 
1898. George Pelham gave the same initials through Mrs. 
Quentin that he had given through Mrs. Piper, tho no value 
can be attached to that fact since Mrs. Quentin knew it, as she 
had read this Report. He had been ** communicator " some 
time previous to my experiment. On this occasion of Oc- 
tober 4th he gave some evidence of his own identity in mat- 
ters pertaining to " communications " at my first sitting with 
Mrs. Piper in 1898. Mrs. Quentin had not read my Report 
on these sittings and so had no knowledge of the facts. After 
some incidents had been given that were not relevant to the 
matter of " cross references " associated with Dr. Hodgson 
the following colloquy took place in the manner described. 
I put in parentheses what was said by myself and the rest is 
what was spelled out on the Ouija board. 

" (Well, George, have ypu seen any of my friends re- 

No, only Richard H. 
(How is H?) 

Progressive as ever. 

(Is he clear?) 

Not very. 

(Do you mean when he communicates or in his normal 
state ?) 

Oh, all right normally. Only when he comes into that 
wretched atmosphere he goes to pieces. Wonder how long 
it will take to overcome this. 

(Do you see Hodgson often?) 

Yes, our lives run in parallels." 

On the loth of October I had an experiment with Mrs. 
Piper, and of course kept absolutely secret both that I had 
had this sitting of October 4th and the contents of it. The 
following is what occurred in reference to the sitting of Oc- 
tober 4th, as the incidents will suggest. I shall have to quote 
the record at considerable length. I adopt the same form as 

Further Experiments Relating to Dr. Hodgson. 129 

before. The square brackets indicate that the matter en- 
closed consists of explanatory notes or comments added after 
the experiment or at the time and do not indicate anything 
that was said on the occasion. After the preliminaries by the 
" control/* who claimed to have the assumed name of Rector, 
the following took place on the appearance of what claimed 
to be Dr. Hodgson. 

" I am Hodgson. 

(Good, Hodgson, how are you?) 

Capital. How are you, Hyslop, old chap ? 


Good, glad to hear it. Did you receive my last message ? 

(When and where?) [I of course had in mind the inci- 
dents from which the previous quotation is taken.] 

I told George to give it to you. 
(Was that recently?) 

Yes, very. 

(I got something about you from George. May be he 
can tell.) 

[I was here thinking of George Pelham.] 

Oh, yes, well I told him to tell you. I mean George D 

[name written in full at the time.] 

(No, he did not write to me.) 

Too bad. Ask him about it, or better still I will tell you 
myself. I said I tried to reach you and another man whom I 
thought to be Funk. 


I heard you say Van. 

(I do not recall that word, but I think I know what place 
it was.) 

You called out Van. I heard it and tried to give a mes- 
sage through him. 

(I was not experimenting with a man, but you might have 
seen a 'light ' in him.) [The man present on the occasion 
was in mind.] 

Yes, I did, and I thought I could speak but I found it too 
difficult. He did not seem to understand. 

(DidG. P. try?) 

Yes, George did and said I was with him. Get it? 

130 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

(I did not get any message of that kind, but he said some 

He said he would help and he did so. You must bear in 
mind that I am constantly watching out [for] an opportunity 
to speak or get at you. Did I understand the name right ? I 
heard him say something about light. 

(Yes, that's correct.) [Reference had been made by 
G. P. ^t that experiment to the Smead case.] 

Do not think I am asleep, Hyslop. Not much. I may not 
understand all that goes on, but I hear more than I explain 

(Yes, I understand.) 

Therefore you must get what I can give here and try to 
understand why it seems so fragmentary. I do not feel your 
lack of interest, but I do feel great difficulties in expressing 
[myself] through lights [mediums]. 

(Yes, what * light ' was it that George spoke about?) [I 
thought of the Smead case, expecting something would be 
said about it.] 

He spoke about this [Mrs. Piper.] and the woman you ex- 
perimented with." 

[G. P. did spontaneously speak of the Piper case at that 
sitting from which I quoted above, and also made some perti- 
nent and true statements about the Smead case agreeing with 
what he had said about it through Mrs. Piper some years ago, 
the facts not having been published and hence not known by 
Mrs. Quentin.] 

The thread of the communications was interrupted at this 
point by a change of subject not relevant to the " cross refer- 
ence " incidents which concern us at present. Some minutes 
later the matter was spontaneously resumed as follows. 

" Did you hear me say George ? 


At the lady's. 


I said it when I heard you say Van. 

(Was that the last time I had an exepriment?) 

Yes, we do not want to make any mistake or confusion in 
this, Hyslop. 

Further Experiments Relating to Dr. Hodgson. 131 

(Did G. P. communicate with me there?) 

He certainly did. Wasn't that FUNK? 

(No^ Funk was not there.) 

Was it his son ? 

(No, it was not his son.) 

It resembled him I thought. I may be mistaken as I have 
seen him with a light recently. 

(Do you know anything that George said to me?) 

I cannot repeat his exact words, but the idea was that we 
were trying to reach you and communicate there. 

(Do you know the method by which the messages came 
to us ?) 

We saw [Mrs. Piper's hand ceased writing and began 

to move about the sheet of paper exactly as did the hand of 
Mrs. Quentin when she spelled out the words by the Ouija 
board. The most striking feature of this identity was the 
tendency of Mrs. Piper's hand to move back to the center of 
the sheet as Mrs. Quentin's. always did after indicating a let- 

(That's right.) 

You asked the board questions and they came out in let- 

(That's right.) 

I saw the modus operandi well. I was pleased that 
George spelled his name. It gave me great delight. I heard 
you ask who was with him and he answered R. H. 

(I asked him how you were.) 

He said first rate or very well. I am not sure of the exact 
words. Do you mind telling me just how the words were 
understood. Was it very well or all right ? 

(The words were ' progressive as ever.') 

Oh yes! I do not exactly recall those words, but I heard 
your question distinctly, Hyslop. I leave no stone unturned 
to reach you and prove my identity. Was it not near water ? 


And in a light room ? 

(Yes, that's correct.) 

I saw you sitting at a table or near it. 

(Yes, right.) 

132 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

Another man present and the light [medium] was near 


I saw the surroundings very clearly when George was 
speaking. I was taking it all in, so to speak." 

At this point the subject was spontaneously dropped and 
the communicator did not recur to it again. The reader will 
easily observe the features of identity in the two cases. In 
the case of Mrs. Quentin, G. P. did mention Mrs. Piper and 
made some pointed remarks about Mrs. Smead, " the woman 
that I experimented with/' and mentioned Dr. Hodgson. 
The description here of the method of communicating 
through Mrs. Quentin is perfectly accurate, tho wholly un- 
known to Mrs. Piper. Mrs. Quentin was opposite me at the 
table on which the Ouija board rested, and at my immediate 
right was a gentleman aiding in the reading of the messages. 
He had no resemblance to Dr. Funk. Two other men, how- 
ever, were present sitting farther off. One of them might be 
mistaken by obscure perception for Dr. Funk, as his iron gray 
beard and hair might suggest the man named, but only to a 
mind which did not have clear perceptions and was prepos- 
sessed with the idea of the person he thought he saw. 

It will be as apparent to the reader also that there is much 
confusion in the communications and that the communicator, 
on any theory of the phenomena, cannot make the " mes- 
sages " as definite as we desire them. The recognition of 
this fact by the communicator himself is an interesting cir- 
cumstance, and it is noticeable that he says that he -knows 
more than he can explain. Students of this problem and the 
fragmentary nature of many messages will discover the truth 
of the statement, as it is evident that far more is in the mind 
of communicators than is registered through the writing and 
communications generally, a fact which would be much more 
natural on the spiritistic theory than any other, assuming 
that there are both mental and other difficulties on the other 
side when communicating. But this aspect of the problem 
is not the primary one in this paper. 

In connection with the passages which I have just quoted 
I saw my chance to test another " cross reference." t had 

Further Experiments Relating to Dr. Hodgson, 133 

previously made arrangements to have an experiment with 
another psychic in Boston, and as soon as I got the chance I 
indicated it, and the following is the record. I was at the 
sitting with Mrs. Piper. 

" (Now, Hodgson, I expect to try another case this after- 

SMITH. [Pseudonym.] 

(Yes, that's right.) 

I shall be there, and I will refer to Books and give my 
initials R. H. only as a test. 


And I will say books." 

I was alone at the sitting with Mrs. Piper. She was in a 
trance from which she recovers without any memory of what 
happens or has been said during it. Three hours afterward 
I went to Mrs. Smith, who did not know that I had been ex- 
perimenting that day with Mrs. Piper. After some general 
" communications " by the control and a reference to some 
one who was said to be interested in Dr. Hodgson, came the 
following. In this case it was not by automatic writing as 
with Mrs. Piper, but by ordinary speech during what is ap- 
parently a light trance. 

" Beside him is Dr. Hodgson. It is part of a promise to 
come to you today as he had just been to say to you he was 
trying not to be intense, but he is intense. I said I would 
come here. I am. I thought I might be able to tell diflferent 
things I already told. Perhaps I can call up some past inter- 
views and make things more clear. Several things were scat- 
tered around at different places. [I have several purported 
communications from him through four other cases.] He 
says he is glad you came and to make the trial soon after the 

[I put a pair of Dr. Hodgson's gloves which I had with 
me in Mrs. Smith's hands.] 

You know I don't think he wanted them to help him so 
much as he wanted to know that you had them. You have 
got something of his. It looks like a book, like a note book, 
with a little writing in it. That is only to let you know it." 

At this point the subject was spontaneously changed and 

134 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

I permitted things to take their own course. A little later 
he returned to the matter and the following occurred. 

" There is something he said he would do. He said : * I 
would say like a word.' I said I would say — I know it's a 
word [last evidently the psychic's mind.] Your name isn't 
it? [apparently said by psychic to the communicator.] I 
said I would say: — Each time the word slips. [Pause.] I 

am afraid I can't get it. It sounds Looks as if it had 

about seven or eight letters. It is all shaky and wriggly, so 
that I can't see it yet. 

Can't you write it down for him so I can see? [appar- 
ently said to the communicator.] C. [psychic shakes her 
head.] [Pause.] [Psychic's fingers then write on the table.] 
Would it mean anything like ' Comrade' ? (No.) He goes 
away again. (All right. Don't worry.) [Pause.] Let me 
take your other hand. [Said to me. I placed my left hand 
in the psychic's.] No good. [Pause.] I'm trying to do it. 
I know that he has just come from the other place, and kept 
his promise to say a word." 

The reader will notice that I got the reference to books, 
the promise to say a word, and an apparent attempt to give 
the other promised message which was not successful. It is 
noticeable that the word " initials " has seven letters in it. 

The message is not so clear as the most exacting critic 
might demand, but we must remember that we are not deal- 
ing with well established methods of communication involv- 
ing perfect command over the mental and cosmic machinery 
for this purpose. The main point is that there is a coinci- 
dence of personality and message in the case where it was not 
previously known that any such reference to books would be 
relevant. For those of us who are familiar with this type of 
phenomena it is perfectly intelligible to find a rambling and 
incoherent manner in referring to the subject. We assume 
as a fundamental part of the hypothesis an abnormal mental 
condition of the medium through which the communications 
come and also of the agent that is instrumental in sending 
them. That, if true, may well account for the confused way 
in which the message is obtained and its setting of delirious 
and irrelevant matter. The reference to a promise, to its 

Further Experiments Relating to Dr. Hodgson, 135 

having been made that very day, to my having been at the 
other " light," to the correct name of the party, all but this 
name being absolutely unknown to the medium, when asso- 
ciated with the reference to books, makes a striking coinci- 
dence which hardly seems due to chance or guessing. 

I should add in this connection another important inci- 
dent which will strengthen the coincidence involved in the 
facts just told. I had another experiment the same evening 
with another young lady who is not a professional and with 
whose mother I had been in correspondence for some time. 
I had arranged some time before to have a sitting for that 
evening. I did not give the slightest hint that I was to be in 
Boston for any other business and no one of the family was 
informed of my arrival two days previously or of my inten- 
tions of having sittings with Mrs. Piper and Mrs. Smith. 
When I arranged to go out to the house with the mother I 
made it appear that I had arrived from New York only a half 
hour before. Hence it was not known to the mother or to 
the young lady that I had had any other experiments that 

At the experiment with Mrs. Piper I had used a pair of 
old gloves which Dr. Hodgson had worn, — the same being 
used for purposes which experimenters in this field under- 
stand — and I had placed the same articles in the hands of 
Mrs. Smith when I got the reference to books. When I had 
my experiment with the young lady mentioned later in the 
evening of the same day it was some time before I placed the 
same gloves in her hands. When I did she paused a few 
minutes, made a general remark, and then said : " I get books 
in connection with these." 

The coincidence again is apparent and whether it is to 
have any casual significance will depend upon the judgment 
of each reader who is capable of estimating the character of 
such phenomena-. 

There was another coincidence which involved a " cross 
reference." At the experiment with Mrs. Piper that day, 
Dr. Hodgson referred to a " stylographic pen" which he said 
he wished me to have. The probable object of this refer- 
ence was to a circumstance connected with similar experi- 

136 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

ments elsewhere, as it seems- to be an important part of these 
experiments that we should hav some article of the communi- 
cator's to " hold *' him, whatever that means. But this aside, 
the fact is that Dr. Hodgson had a special stylographic pen 
which was necessary whenever a certain one of the trance 
personalities controlled the writing of Mrs. Piper's hand. 
He had several fountain pens which he used for his own pur- 
poses, but his stylographic pen was necessary when Imper- 
sonator, the chief of the trance personalities, influenced the 
automatic writing. But whatever his object in alluding to 
this pen and saying that he wanted me to have it, at this later 
sitting on the same day an allusion was made to '' a pen 
which he earned in his pocket " and the statement was made 
that " it had a little ring around it." I do not know whether 
the stylographic pen had a ring around it or not, as I was not 
able to obtain the pen, all of these little trinkets having been 
given to his friends as mementos. But there was the coinci- 
dence of this apparent reference to the same thing at both 

Allusion was also made at both sittings to the Institute 
and characteristic references with statements about our co- 
operation in it which was not known by either medium. One 
was to a letter which Dr. Hodgson wrote to me a few weeks 
before his death about an intended meeting in New York to 
consider the plans of the Institute. Similar allusions were 
also made to the organization of an independent Society and 
its relations to the English body. 

• But a more important instance occurred. If the reader 
will turn to the February number of the Journal (p. io6) he 
will find there an important allusion to a man in Washington 
who was said to be a medium and to a letter which the com- 
municator, Dr. Hodgson, said he may not have written to 
me about the case. The facts represented by this incident, 
the reader will recall, were not known by me and were only 
accidentally learned afterward. This allusion was made in 
the spring, but it was locked up in my record and the lady 
with whom I was now holding a sitting knew nothing of this 
Ment. But, after an allusion to a lady who was closely 

Further Experiments Relating to Dr. Hodgson. 137 

connected with Dr. Hodgson in the experiments with Mrs. 
Piper, there apparently came from him the following : 

" Have you been to Washington lately ? '* 

(Not specially.) 

" Is there any psychological work there ? I see people 
who are interested and who will help you in your work. 
May not be able all at once^ but will do it in time.'' 

There is no absolute assurance that the incidents are 
identical in their import, but they are close enough to sug- 
gest their probable meaning. The very mention of Wash- 
ington in both sets of experiments and associating it with my 
experimental work is at least a suggestion in the same direc- 
tion, tho we should desire clearer indications of identity. 

While referring to this experiment in which the " cross 
references" occur I might allude to other incidents which 
apparently represent supernormal knowledge and purporting 
to come from Dr. Hodgson. Their value lies in the fact that 
they are incidents obtained independently of Mrs. Piper. 

There was a fair description given of George Pelham, the 
deceased friend of Dr. Hodgson and who had, after his death, 
convinced Dr. Hodgson of his survival. It was not eviden- 
tial, but certain statements about his being around at experi- 
ments was made which is confirmed by evidence of his pres- 
ence at various other experiments which I have had and 
which are not known to any one but myself. 

It may be worth remarking also that an allusion was made 
to " a little boy four or five years old " and it was said also : 
** He is grown up. He wears a little blouse and little pants 
like knickerbockers," followed by a reference to the family 
circle. I had a brother who died in 1864 at four and a half 
years of age. The clothes that he wore are correctly de- 
scribed here and we have always kept a picture of him in this 
suit. His name and death are mentioned in my Report 
published in 1901, but no allusion was made to his dress 
there. It was later, in sittings with Mrs. Piper, that practi- 
cally the same reference was made to this dress, and the 
records of that allusion have not been published. 

Another instance possibly involves a " cross reference " 
and certainly suggests supernormal knowledge of an inter- 

;:;^ '.-urnal of the Atnerican Society fjr Psyckkai 

i^^-rrr^ kzr^^i Mr. Frederic \V. H. Myers purported to 

T^-rr-.-LTi w tb me at this same meeting. Having- in nxiod is 
,-:=ic^^ r. rr-mnnication with me through another medizDii. 
' ..-^. ^ r:^-a± mentioned in the January number of the Jonnul 
V V . I i.-*.ed a question when he purported to be prases: 
i : > .mrrx neid the same day as the one with Mrs. Piper. 
" I . /„ T n:r 1? what occurred with Mrs. Smith : 

• — -: - "trrs iVes) You ♦ ♦ [incomplete notes] 
'. -f fii -Ti:iies. We are brothers." 
— -. rit^-t:. Mr, Myers?) 
e. T^.v ncre." 

-.--: Have you tried to communicate w^ith me?) 

t-- -- .^rt; Anoiher place where there is a yotmgcr 

^- . u . r.z.. r..r T'iner, another place in a city. Don't get 

- ^-^ -r-' _-. \ *na: we all want is unity of expression 

., ... .,^ . ^-^,. -uuiiums ^nr/>\\aycd by their personality, 

^, .*- : - : .:■ :::i- wcL ihron^'h two or three, AVc shoold 

-,.»-., ••■\. ';.'.v-: ...-:u tlui: :li-oiii:'h one casc~ ' 

^ ■*- k- • * .: \v*i mnx: tio i: ^c-*e";i' timeN 'vVc don*t 

^^ ' , -":-- ."»: *-.:, ::.a: i: r;,r Kc t-'onc \'\ e mcscr iia.Tc 

'''v 1.- . '^\. .1, : 'Tv ncTv(M,;,;-.*\ o' the meduin;.. r^e- saxs 


^; ":;-^n^r 

*c \ :i< i. u."tir-::* rce 

''. . vi rv x\ hn 1' "I 

r.i*', V : .'-t<c ! ;.-., 

T' ^---^.'c^tTr TT ~*-i 

1 .» :- \\-i r. n,^ ^- • .-. 

t. -..-•...< T'nt rt\z-' 

. ^.r,^ ;-\"-i{ • '' .. '-. ■-" 

' — .. n^r.-t " ;.r urc 

' ^ Ki t ' '^- ^ '*^^ 

> -^•- \ -. M- xctsnzzT' 

.* *. !• '^^^ r^ 1 ' '". * ' 

^ ,.,. <:ar-Tnrfn^ 

» / I ,^ ' \i ' 1*,^ ■•*'v. 

'-»;■- r *-., nf ::n^* -a: 

*" ■ ^ t, V. ' ' . »* * ' 

- '.* ".••"..-;.T'v vnit 

■■ * ' -•' " '• a-1 wTi* 


«- ' '^■.'.*' TTC 

>.!.,, I. . 

■ -- . ^ '.• t-,^ n;:: 

" ' ' >.. ** - 

- -^; - ?- ':• roT^—-^^ 

.1 , . ,' . ., 

s ^ •* T'' " ^^ r***- 

1.x. -^ 

•» .-v^ ^ -'TTi; 

Further Experiments Relating to Dr, Hodgson, 139 

and stated that it was private and advised me against the 
project. The facts were known to but three other persons 
then living. Dr. Hodgson had not known it when living. 
I kept the facts so communicated absolutely secret, not re- 
porting them to those who keep the Piper records, but filing 
the matter in my own iron box. 

A few weeks later my wife, who passed away some years 
ago, purported to communicate through Mrs. Smead and 
spontaneously alluded to the same project, approving of it. 
Mrs. Smead knew nothing of the facts and nothing of allu- 
sions to them through Mrs. Piper. 

Through another private medium, not a professional in 
any respect, in another city, whose psychic powers suddenly 
came to her knowledge all unwittingly last spring, my father 
purported to communicate, and alluding to the same facts 
approved of the project in the identical language which he 
used in life regarding such matters. As a test of the case, 
and thinking of what Dr. Hodgson had communicated 
through Mrs. Piper, I asked him what Dr Hodgson thought 
about it. His immediate reply was that he was opposed to 
it and that he had frequently spoken to him about it. In giv- 
ing what was alleged to be Dr. Hodgson's opinion on the 
matter he used an expression which was exactly the senti- 
ment that Dr. Hodgson had expressed to me some years be- 
fore his death when we were returning on a boat from Nan- 
tasket Beach. Presently Dr. Hodgson purported to take the 
place of my father as communicator and showed an attitude 
of disapproval, but was argued by myself at the time into a 
half-hearted acceptance of the facts, as a test of the mental 
attitude of communicators. In the process of our communi- 
cations he showed exactly the mental attitude which he had 
always taken on these matters. 

Another instance which is not so complicated and hence 
not so strong, is interesting. On November 22nd, 1906, I 
had an experiment with Mrs. Quentin again and the first com- 
municator purported to be Dr. Hodgson. He did not suc- 
ceed in getting anything evidential through. He was fol- 
lowed by my father who was quite successful in several inci- 
dents, and he by my wife who succeeded in one suggestive 

138 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

esting kind. Mr. Frederic W. H. Myers purported to com- 
municate with me at this same meeting. Having in mind his 
alleged communication with me through another medium, 
Mrs. Smead, mentioned in the January number of the Journal 
(P- 39)> I asked a question when he' purported to be present 
at this sitting held the same day as the one with Mrs. Piper. 
The following is what occurred with Mrs. Smith : 

" Mr. Myers. (Yes) You * * [incomplete notes] 
Myers. He smiles. We are brothers." 
(Are you there, Mr. Myers?) 

" Yes, right here." 

(AH right. Have you tried to communicate with me?) 

" Yes, not here. Another place where there is a younger 
guide, a man, not Piper, another place in a city. Don't get 
name through. What we all want is unity of expression 
through different mediums [un] swayed by their personality, 
if it helps us to do this well through two or three. We should 
do it many times." 

(Good, you have done that through one case.) 
" Yes I know, but we must do it several times. We don't 
have any question but that it can be done. We must have 
the key to shut out the personality of the medium. He says 
he will do that." 

The kind of experiment here alluded to was a favorite one 
in the plans of Mr. Myers when living and some experi- 
ments were performed by himself and Dr. Hodgson in this 
direction, tho the facts were never made public. The char- 
acteristic may have been generally known and hence I do not 
refer to it as evidential, but only as suggestive of his identity. 
The important points, however, are the correct statements 
that he had communicated with me elsewhere and neither at 
this case nor at Mrs. Piper's. He never communicated with 
me at Mrs. Piper's, a fact which was not known by any one 
but myself. He did purport to communicate with me 
through Mrs. Smead, where the control was a young man. 

I come now to a complicated series of " cross references " 
of which I cannot give the exact details, as the matter is pri- 
vate and personal, tho not so to myself. At the last sitting 
with Mrs. Piper, Dr. Hodgson spontaneously alluded to it 

Further Experiments Relating to Dr. Hodgson, 139 

and stated that it was private and advised me against the 
project. The facts were known to but three other persons 
then living. Dr. Hodgson had not known it when living. 
I kept the facts so communicated absolutely secret, not re- 
porting them to those who keep the Piper records, but filing 
the matter in my own iron box. 

A few weeks later my wife, who passed away some years 
ago, purported to communicate through Mrs. Smead and 
spontaneously alluded to the same project, approving of it. 
Mrs. Smead knew nothing of the facts and nothing of allu- 
sions to them through Mrs. Piper. 

Through another private medium, not a professional in 
any respect, in another city, whose psychic powers suddenly 
came to her knowledge all unwittingly last spring, my father 
purported to communicate, and alluding to the same facts 
approved of the project in the identical language which he 
used in life regarding such matters. As a test of the case, 
and thinking of what Dr. Hodgson had communicated 
through Mrs. Piper, I asked him what Dr Hodgson thought 
about it. His immediate reply was that he was opposed to 
it and that he had frequently spoken to him about it. In giv- 
ing what was alleged to be Dr. Hodgson's opinion on the 
matter he used an expression which was exactly the senti- 
ment that Dr. Hodgson had expressed to me some years be- 
fore his death when we were returning on a boat from Nan- 
tasket Beach. Presently Dr. Hodgson purported to take the 
place of my father as communicator and showed an attitude 
of disapproval, but was argued by myself at the time into a 
half-hearted acceptance of the facts, as a test of the mental 
attitude of communicators. In the process of our communi- 
cations he showed exactly the mental attitude which he had 
always taken on these matters. 

Another instance which is not so complicated and hence 
not so strong, is interesting. On November 22nd, 1906, I 
had an experiment with Mrs. Quentin again and the first com- 
municator purported to be Dr. Hodgson. He did not suc- 
ceed in getting anything evidential through. He was fol- 
lowed by my father who was quite successful in several inci- 
dents, and he by my wife who succeeded in one suggestive 

138 Jour 

esting ki:. 
alleged c 
Mrs. Sni« 

(p. 39). ' 
at this s. 

The for 




if it 1 

do i* 




^ LLiUs Relating to Dr. Hodgson. 


and stated that a vi; t-*-^^^ case, and tho the lady was not a 
project. The iacj it- — ' idence of Dr. Hodgson's presence. 
then living, in. hc-u" - &^^ ^^ attach any special weight to it, 
I kept the facu >: r.— -^ .luiky style of writing and the form 
porting them to 1L-- icteristic of what was done in the 

the matter in ir ■ 
A few ween- 
ago, ptirpone- 
spontanecusi} ^ 
Mrs. Smead k:.- 
sions to therr - 
Through _• 
any respect 
came to he- 
purported : 
approved r.* 
used in H^* 
and thini— 
through ? 
about it 
it and t! • ' - 

. J. ;)orted to communicate. His name 

. . . eristic manner, and when I asked how 

,.. . * Fine.** This was the word that he 

. .n the Piper sittings some months ber 

.. could not have any special weight by 

ii.iitant of manner and phrase that were 

■ i'l have a place in the record of attempts 

.1 him. The chief value of this and simi- 

light which they throw upon the difiicul- 

. lentlal matter in support of the theory 

...ciia seem to favor. 

jt more weight than it would have by itself 

.cader's attention to a circumstance that oc- 

.! a short time after my return from this ex- 

. west. This experiment was near the end of 

• !! October loth, at Mrs. Piper's, Dr. Hodgson, 

communicate, and after an allusion to an ex- 

l;e summer, out west, said: "I saw you experi- 

': another lady. I tried to say Hodgson. Did 

It was his full name that I got with the word 

• ^ r to my greeting. The lady, of course, knew 

v:(l away and that I would be experimenting 

ijis allusion to another lady than the one in 

•1 the name tends to suggest that the incident 

• cross reference." Its value, if it be what it 

- in the multiplication of the references that 

■rongth to the evidence of the supernormal 

.i;nion is obvious when we have excluded fraud 

irv i>ersonality.* 

•' * hciter and much more complicated instance of "cross refer- 

liut as it docs not affect Dr. Hodgson or his personality I 

:• atures here. It involves the prediction through two differ- 

ncdiums of the death of a specific person indicated with per- 

'itionship to me and another person being stated. I did not 

I. at the person was dangerously ill at the time. Also, through 

142 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 

I shall pass now from incidently involving " cross refer- 
ence " to those which do not, and confine myself to what 
came through Mrs. Piper on October loth. They may be 
more specific than the type which I have just illustrated, 
and must be adjudged by the reader according to his tastes. 

Immediately after the description of the incidents con- 
nected with the Ouija board experiment. Dr. Hodgson, 
through the automatic writing of Mrs. Piper, said : 

"I saw you recently writing up all I have said to yon. 

(That's right, Hodgson.) 

And it pleased me very much. 

(I am going to print it in the Journal.) 

Amen, You have my consent. I wish the world to 
know that I was not an idiot. 

(All right. That's good.) 

Do you remember a joke we had about George's putting 
his feet on the chair and how absurd we thought it. 

(George who?) 

Pelham, in his description of his life here. 

(No, you must have told that to some one else.) 

Oh, perhaps it was Billy. Ask him." 

This, as I said, was on October loth. During the summer, 
some time in August, I had been writing out the first and the 
third papers which are being published in the Journal on Dr. 
Hodgson's purported communications. The fact was known 
only to myself and one or two other persons. The attitude 
of Dr. Hodgson in approval of it was entirely characteristic. 
He was anxious, when living, to have his judgment in the 
case vindicated, and while he might not have used the exact 

both mediums I was told that a certain deceased person was watching over 
him and would meet him. i hrough three mediums who did not know of his 
death and only a few weeks after it, two of them private cases and the other 
a respectable public medium, this person was mentioned with the most of his 
name, and the fact that he met the person who, I was told, would meet him as 
he crossed the* border. 

The value of the incidents depends mainly upon the reliability of the 
sources through which they came, and I shall urge that less here than I shall 
its evidential value, if the trustworthiness of the facts can be accepted. 1 
cannot explain here why they can be trusted, but shall do so when the de- 
tailed record is published. But their hypothetical importance can be con- 
sidered from the standpoint of "cross reference" while we await th» guar- 
antees that normal knowledge of the facts was not possible. 

Further Experiments Relating to Dr. Hodgson. 143 

language employed in this connection he would have ex- 
pressed himself plainly in the matter. The use of " idiot " 
is quite characteristic of George Pelham's ways, and he may 
have been an intermediary. 

The other incident I knew nothing about. But I knew 
what " Billy " referred to. This was the name by which he 
had always called Prof. Newbold, and so I made inquiry of 
him regarding the pertinence of the incident. He replied 
that he and Dr. Hodgson had laughed heartily at some state- 
ments of George Pelham, when he was trying to communi- 
cate after his death, about the way he did when he was com- 
municating. He claimed that he was in the medium's head 
and his feet on the table while he was trying to communi- 
cate through her hand. The description is ludicrous enough, 
but the incident, perhaps, is good enough to prove identity, 
and the best part of its value is that I did not know the 

Perhaps a more interesting incident is a fragmentary and 
confused message whose meaning at the moment I did not 
detect, but it became apparent soon afterward. The follow- 
ing was communicated in the same manner as previous quo- 
tations : 

" Do you recall the man I referred to now? 

(You did not ) [My sentence not finished as writ- 
ing continued.] 

The clergyman whom we saw at Pa. San, whose wife was 
anxious about his trances. 

(No, you did not mention him.) 

I did some time ago. Do you remember him ? 

(What was his name?) 

It was San. . San. . Oh what was it. He was a young 
man and had not been married long." 

The facts are these : The Rev. Stanley L. Krebs invited 
me to take part in some experiments in a certain town in 
Pennsylvania (Pa.) in which he was to have present a certain 
clergyman, whose name I must not reveal at present, and 
who had come thither to test certain incidents that had been 
mentioned through him in a previous trance. He was a 
young man and had not been long married. His wife was 

144 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

opposed to his going into trances. We tried some experi- 
ments at table tipping and one with this clergyman's trance. 
I reported the facts to Dr. Hodgson and Mr. Krebs had some 
correspondence with Dr. Hodgson regarding the case. There 
was every reason to believe the phenomena were genuine. 
But the man's name has no resemblance to " San," and Dr. 
Hodgson was not present with me at the experiments and I 
suspect never saw the clergyman. But he knew all about the 
case and its phenomena. Apparently " San " is a confused 
and fragmentary attempt to give the name " Stanley," a part 
of Mr. Krebs' name, this latter part of it having failed to be 
recalled by the communicator. It can be safely assumed 
that Mrs. Piper never heard of the case, and if she had, the 
incidents should never have taken the form which they did. 
The confusion and fragmentary character of the allusions 
make them interesting and important. 

Another brief incident has much interest, as reflecting the 
natural action of an independent mind rather than that of a 
telepathic agent. It is a request that I remember him to a 
friend whom I did not know, and most probably never saw. 
He said to me near the close of this same sitting: " Do you 
remember a friend of mine, George Goddard, at the camp? 
Give him my love and tell him I live to send it." 

I have learned from Prof. James that Mr. Goddard had 
been a member of Putman's Camp in the Adirondacks where 
Dr. Hodgson usually spent a part of his summer vacations. 
I called twice on Dr. Hodgson while he was there spending a 
couple of hours there with him each time. But I do not 
recall meeting Mr. Goddard there, and it is improbable that 
Mrs. Piper ever knew anything of the man or his relation to 
Dr. Hodgson at this camp. The main point of the incident, 
assuming that it is supernormal, is that it is too much like 
the action of a real living friend to be attributed to a mechan- 
ical agency like telepathy, which, in fact, does not seem to me 
to be deserving of serious consideration in such incidents. 
A simple and more natural interpretation, if we are going to 
be sceptical about the most obvious explanation, is Mrs. 
Piper's previous knowledge of the fact, a supposition which 

Further Experiments Relating to Dr. Hodgson. 145 

it is hardly necessary to make in the light of the proved super- 
normal character of most of her work. 

The explanation of these facts takes us beyond the case of 
Mrs. Piper as every intelligent reader must observe. That 
has been the purpose of grouping together the instances of 
" cross reference " in this article. Members of the Society 
for Psychical Research have constantly reproached us for 
having no other oracle than Mrs. Piper and for making our 
case depend upon her phenomena alone. That reproach 
cannot be cast against the contents of this paper. We have 
involved here five other cases of similar phenomena. More- 
over it should be noticed in this connection that the reproach 
made against the limitation of the case to Mrs. Piper was 
based upon an entire misunderstanding of the problem and 
of the reason for talking so much about her. It was not the 
nature of the phenomena that was the reason for laying 
so much weight upon it, but the conditions under which they 
were obtained. Genuine phenomena may be plentiful 
enough, but scientific credentials may be very scarce. What 
the Society has been searching for so strenuously was scientific 
proof and this requires such conditions as exclude the possi- 
bility of certain well known objections which the sceptic has 
the right to have answered, tho he too frequently entertains 
them without making himself responsible for the evidence 
that they are in fact applicable. But we shall never secure 
our case until it is made impossible rationally to suggest the 
common objections to the genuineness of mediumistic phe- 

Now it is the scientific security of the Piper case against 
all possible objections of fraud that has occasioned the per- 
petual appeal to it as evidence that the ordinary objections 
to the nature of^he facts do not apply. Nevertheless it is im- 
portant, both for the further exclusion of the right to suspect 
fraud and for the complication of the phenomena, that we 
should not only secure other and similar cases, but also a 
complex system of " cross references," both of which this 
paper supplies. ' Whatever explanation be proposed must 
reckon with these facts. Besides I have quoted cases of a 
private nature only, save one, Mrs. Smith, who was protected 

146 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

against suspicion by the small in^terval of time between the 
sitting with her and that of Mrs. Piper, as well as the reserva- 
tion of facts which I made in the matter and the limitation 
to myself of the knowledge which it was necessary for her 
to have in order to simulate the supernormal. In all other 
cases I was dealing with private psychics, and private also in 
the sense that they are not practicing their art even for their 
friends in any general way, as well as not receiving any pay 
for their experiments. The one case which is not private has 
no suspicions raised against her, and even if they were they 
could not apply to the experiment from which I quote, for 
the reasons mentioned. Consequently we must at least sup- 
pose that we are dealing with facts less exposed than is 
usually the case to sceptical criticism. 

There are just three hypotheses which are capable of dis- 
cussion in connection with such facts. They are (i) Fraud; 
(2) Telepathy, and (3) Spirits. Secondary personality 
would not be presented as an alternative by any one who 
knows what that phenomenon is. Secondary personality, in 
respect of the contents of its mental action, claims to be lim- 
ited to the normal action of the senses, and is distinguished 
from fraud in that its whole character is unconscious, while 
fraud is properly conscious deception by the normal subject. 
If fraud in this case be excluded from view there can be no 
doubt that such facts as have been enumerated are super- 
normal, whatever the specific explanation. But secondary 
personality never assumes the supernormal acquisition of 
knowledge. It is limited to what has been .obtained in a 
normal manner by the subject. Hence it is excluded from 
view by virtue of that fact. 

As to fraud, that has been excluded from consideration in 
the Piper case for fifteen or twenty years, and only unintelli- 
gent men would talk about it any longer. It has come to 
pass where any one who insinuates it must be held respon- 
sible for the evidence of his hypothesis. As far as possible I 
endeavored to conduct the experiments in most cases in a 
manner that would require the critic to implicate myself in 
any fraud suspected, and in any case of that possibility I am 
hardly competent to investigate myself. But some of the 

Further Experiments Relating to Dr. Hodgson. 147 

facts make it necessary to implicate me in any theory of 
fraud. In so far as the mediums are concerned, I think it 
cannot even be suspected without evidence, unless the one 
case which is professional be conceded to the sceptic. For 
that reason I think it can be dismissed from the account, 
especially as the one case which certain types of minds would 
desire to except does not figure in any incidents where criti- 
cism of any kind is possible. 

I do not think that telepathy as an explanation will fare 
any better. In fact I should be ashamed, as one who has 
tried to be scientific, to advance telepathy as an explanation 
of any such facts. Any man who knows what he means by 
the use of this term would not venture to suppose it an ex- 
planation. As I expect to discuss the nature of telepathy in 
a later article I shall not give any special reasons for rejecting 
it in such facts as have been collected here. I merely say 
that really scientific men who know what they are talking 
about, would not, in the light of the evidence, have the temer- 
ity to propose it as an adequate theory of phenomena involv- 
ing such a system of " cross references " illustrative of the 
personal identity of deceased persons and nothing else. I do 
not think the hypothesis worthy of serious defense. It is an 
hypothesis worthy only of intellectual prudes. I should 
much prefer fraud as an explanation ; for we have analogies 
and experiences enough to make that intelligible, but for 
the kind of telepathy necessary to cover such facts we have 
no adequate scientific evidence whatever. It cannot be tol- 
erated as an hypothesis in such cases until its claims have 
been established for such selective work. 

As to the third hypothesis, namely, that of spirits, I shall 
not undertake any dogmatic defense. It is obvious to me 
that it is the most rational hypothesis after eliminating fraud 
from such matters, and my own stand in various publications 
would indicate what position I would preferably assume. 
But it is not my desire in this article to argue for this con- 
clusion. My main purpose has been to present the facts 
and to leave the reader to form his own conclusion, but to do 
this without concealing the preference which every one per- 
haps knows I would make. I am quite willing to concede 

148 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

to many who have not spent a long time in the investigation 
of this complex subject the right still to be sceptical, and 
especially to doubt the conclusiveness of the facts making for 
the theory which seems to me the most plausible. I can 
only say to them that I have not made up my mind upon 
these facts alone, but upon the whole mass of published and 
unpublished records of psychical research. What I here 
publish is but an illustration of some of the most interesting 
and perhaps most cogent facts. But I shall not insist that 
they should be conclusive for the sceptic. The utmost that 
I shall urge upon him is that they make adequate investiga- 
tion imperative, and seeing that the phenomena illustrate the 
selective reference to the personal identity of deceased per- 
sons I think almost any one will admit that, assuming fraud 
to have been excluded, they make out a forcible case for the 
further investigation of spiritistic theories. 


By David P. Abbott. 


Having been requested by Prof. Hyslop to write a paper on 
the above subject, I shall give to the readers of this article a 
description and explanation of a few of the best slate-writing 
feats and billet tests that are being performed by mediums and 
conjurers of the present day. I shall make no attempt at explain- 
ing a complete list of the many tricks of the kind, for should I do 
so it would require a large volume to contain them all. 

* The reader will understand that the word " Spirit " used in the title of 
this article, merely indicates certain phenomena known under tHat name,- and 
that " Spirits " in the common acceptance of the term have nothing whatever 
to do with the performances described herein. Also the word " Medium " 
used in this article merely indicates the usual person traveling as a " profes- 
sional " and performing mysterious feats, claiming to do so with the aid of 
spirits of the dead. In reality, his performance is based on deception, and his 
eflFects are produced by methods used in conjuring. Such persons call them- 
selves ** Mediums " and it is in this sense that the term is used here. I do 
not mean by the term any person possessing supernormal powers of any kind 

spirit Slate-^IVriting and Billet Tests. 149 

There are certain dealers who supply secrets of this kind to 
mediums and others desiring them, at what may be considered 
by some as a very high price. There are also books on the sub- 
ject describing many such feats ; but those which are really the 
best have been very generally kept out of the book on the ques- 
tion. Some can only be secured from the dealers, while some 
have been guarded by certain mediums so closely that I do not 
think the dealers have yet obtained the secrets. 

The tricks to which I shall devote the most attention are those 
used by such mediums, and those supplied by the dealers, they 
being those which are, I think, the best and most deceptive of the 

Prof. Hyslop requested especially that I describe tricks where 
the performer does not touch the slates, or where he does not 
appear to touch them. I will state that there are no slate tricks 
where some one does not touch the slates. This would be a 
miracle. The readers of this paper must understand that the 
most essential part of any trick is the psychological part. This 
consists in the operator absolutely controlling the subject's atten- 
tion. This is termed, in the parlance of the profession, " misdi- 
rection." A thorough master of the art of misdirection has his 
subject entirely at his mercy. The subject sees only what the 
operator desires him to see, even though much of that which is 
hidden is performed before his very eyes. 

I do not mean to convey the idea that the operator employs a 
power an3rthing like h)rpnotism, but merely that he is an actor ; 
that he controls the attention of the subject entirely by skilfully 
directing his own eyes, his own gestures, and his own attention, 
to the point where he desires the attention of his subject to be 
concentrated. Wherever the operator looks and points with one 
hand, there will the subject most certainly look if he be inter- 
ested. It is possible then for the performer to execute with the 
other hand any maneuver he desires, entirely unseen by the sub- 
ject; but he must in no way look at such action himself, or he will 
be instantly discovered. 

A magician once remarked to me, " If I can only get your at- 
tention intently, an elephant can pass behind me and you will not 
see it." This may have been a little strong, but not so much so 
as one who is not himself a performer might suppose. The at- 
tention is like the field of vision, — it can only be concentrated on 
one thing at a time. 

If any one, reporting slate-writing, where he took his own 
slates, says that he did not let them go out of his hands, and that 
he allowed no one to touch them in any manner, he is surely mis- 
taken, if truthful. There has been something which occurred, 
and which he does not relate, for the simple fact that it escaped 
his attention at the time — something that to him seemed a mere 

ISO Journal of the Ainerican Society for Psychical Research. 

incident, a little thing, an accident, or that he did not perceive at 
all ; but that was really the vital point, as it concealed the trick. 
This is the verdict of all the reliable conjurers who have ever in- 
vestigated the subject 

Conjurers are always looking for things of this kind; and if 
they hear of such a trick, immediately manage to see it if pos- 
sible. They always see it with different eyes than do other per- 
sons. This is simply because they are fitted by education to 
detect a trick. A conjurer is a specialist that is fitted to detect 

We hear many tales of marvelous slate tricks, but can never 
find them. It is something like the marvelous tales we hear of 
in " Indian Magic." We hear them related second or third hand, 
and far from the places where they occurred. When one of our 
magicians makes a journey to that country to see these things, he 
can not find them. He can only find a number of tricks that are 
really inferior to the tricks of our own performers at home. 
There is one little difference, however, and that is the setting 
given these tricks by the pretensions of the performer. In our 
country, the performer, unless he be a professional medium, 
claims only that it is trickery; while in that country, as a rule, 
the spectators are allowed to believe the performance genuine. 
This greatly enhances the effect of any trick. 

The slate tricks in which the performer appears not to touch 
the slates, are by no means the best or most certain of success; 
but a good performer must be able to perform all kinds, and to 
adjust himself to the conditions with which he is confronted. 

I personally perform most of the tricks I am going to describe, 
and I assure the reader that the explanations are given very ac- 
curately ; so that the reader can, if he so desire, reproduce the ex- 
periments. All the tricks given are thoroughly practicable, and 
can be successfully performed with a little practice. 

In justice to myself I wish to state that I have always used 
these experiments for purposes of entertainment or instruction, 
and that I have never imposed on the credulity of any of my spec- 
tators. I have never laid any claims to mediumistic powers, but 
have always acknowledged that the experiments were pure 

The reader must remember that when a trick is explained it 
immediately becomes commonplace, and that it is only the mys- 
tery of good tricks that lends a charm to them. To properly ap- 
preciate a good trick, one should by all means see it performed 
before reading the explanation, if it be possible to do so. When 
the explanation is read without seeing the trick performed, it is 
rarely held at its true value in the reader's estimation. I assure 
the reader that the tricks which follow appear very mysterious, 
and that they are the best of their kind in existence. The reader 

spirit Slate-Writing and Billet Tests. 151 

has only to give a few of them a careful trial to be convinced of 
this statement. 

I would advise the reader who desires to thoroughly under- 
stand these tricks, to read the explanations carefully, and to form 
a good mental picture of all the details of the performance. 


I shall first describe a very excellent slate trick which is per- 
formed most successfully by a few professional mediums of the 
present day. This is usually done with a number (usually eight) 
of bound slates, size five by seven, and one large slate, size eight 
by eleven inches inside measure. This trick is very easy to per- 
fonn and very deceptive. Any reader of this article can perform 
it successfully with a very few trials. 

I generally have the subject take a seat near a small table, and 
I remain standing at his left side while I perform the trick. I 
first step to an adjoining room as soon as the spectator is seated 
and get the slates. I come forward with the slates arranged as 
follows, — in my left hand and partly resting on my wrist and arm 
is the large slate with the small ones on top of it. 

I present the top small slate to the subject for inspection and 
cleaning, if he so desires. When he is through with it, I take it in 
my right hand and place it on the table directly in front of hint. 
I repeat this with each of the remaining small slates, placing each 
one inspected on top of the others, thus forming a stack. I do 
not even up the edges of the slates, but leave the stack in a rough 
and unsymmetrical form. When the last small slate is in posi- 
tion, I bring the large slate in front of the subject, and giving him 
a pencil, request him to rvrite on the large slate his name and the date 
of his birth. If he desires to examine the large slate before 
writing this, I allow him to do so. As soon as he has done the 
writing, I place the large slate in his lap and request him to hold 
it by the ends. I then take a large rubber band and snap it 
around the stack of small slates, after evening up the edges. I 
now place this stack of small slates in his lap on the large slate, 
and request him to place his hands on it. 

After sufficient time has elapsed, I request him to examine the 
slates for a message. When he does so he finds a long " spirit " 
message written on one of the small slates, completely covering 
one side of it. The message is written with a soapstone pencil, 
and appears bright, and heavily written. It is addressed to him 
by name, and is frequently signed by the name of some departed 
friend whom I do not know. 

This effect is secured by very simple means. I use nine 
small slates instead of eight. I prepare the message in advance 
and sign it. The slate containing this message is underneath the 
^rge date when I come forward with the slates. As I take my 

152 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

position at the left side of the spectator, and tilt the slates slightly 
towards him, the message-slate can not be seen. The subject 
naturally supposes that all of the small slates are on top of the 
large one; and when he has examined all of the small slates in 
view, and I have stacked them in front of him, he never dreams 
that under the large slate in my left hand is another small slate 
which he can not see. 

I now bring this large slate into position right over the stack 
for an instant, with its front edge tilted downward and resting on 
the stack. I allow the small bound slate under the large one 
silently to drop upon the stack, and at the same time I take his atten- 
tioft by giving him a pencil with my right hand and requesting 
him to write on the large slate. I say, " Write your name, etc., 
right there," pointing with my right fingers to the centre of the 
large slate. This takes his attention so that he does not notice 
the fact that the large slate pauses over the stack of small slates 
for a moment. In fact this is done in a natural manner, as if I 
were merely holding the large slate in that position to show him 
where to write, and he thinks nothing of it. 

When the large slate is removed and placed in his lap, he does 
not notice that there is now one more slate in the stack, for the 
reason that where so many slates are used the addition of an extra 
one can not be noticed unless the subject first counts the slates. 
Of course counting is never mentioned. The small slate with 
the message on it has the message side downwards, so that the 
message can not be seen after it is dropped on the stack. 

I always keep the slates in my left hand until they are in- 
spected and stacked on the table, for the reason that if the slates 
be laid on the table the small slate imder the large one will make 
its presence known by preventing the large slate from touching: 
the table. I allow the slates partly to rest on my arm until the 
weight is reduced so I can hold them in the hand, at which time 
I hold those that remain in the left hand only. This enables me 
to press the concealed slate tightly against the lower side of the 
large slate. 

As soon as the large slate is placed on the sitter's lap, I op 
edge the stack of small slates so as to even them up. I take fror: 
the table a large rubber band and snap it around the stack. A? 
the stack is on the side edges of the slates when I first up-edge 
them, I next bring them upon the end edges, while I put the band 
in place. It is now easy to place the stack of slates upon the lai^« 
slate message slate dozvn, and to attract no notice to this fact. Th'5 
is because the position has been changed a time or so in placing 
the band on ; and I then take the stack in my hands by the edges 
of the slates, and simply place what was the top side of the stack 
in the beginning, at the bottom. This way the spectator neve: 
suspects that the stack has been turned over ; and when he does 

spirit Slate^Writing and Billet Tests. 153 

find his message, he finds it on the bottom slate, and on its upper 
surface, which greatly heightens the effect. His memory is es- 
pecially good about cleaning the bottom slate, and also about the 
upper surfaces of the slates being free from writing ; as he could 
see them all on the upper surface as the stack was formed. The 
message thus appears as if it had come by magic, or some super- 
human power. 

The secret of success with this trick is perfect self-assurance. 
The operator must not act timidly, but must perform the experi- 
ment himself and direct the sitter what to do. He thus makes his 
own conditions and must never act in any backward or embar- 
rassed way, but must be perfectly at home in the performance of 
the experiment. 

There are a number of tricks performed where a stack of slates 
is used and an extra slate adroitly added to it, or else one of them 
exchanged for another. 

There is an improved form of this trick which I use. It is very 
superior and I will give it a little further on. It requires a little 
more skill at one point, and also requires a knowledge of certain 
moves which I explain in the trick described in Part V of this 
article. In Part VI. I will again refer to this trick, and give the 
improved method ; as the reader will then have mastered the 
moves required for its production. The means by which I obtain 
the name of the deceased friend of the spectator may be one of 
several, some of which I will describe in this article. 


I shall now describe a method I use for secretly reading a 
billet, when using a variation of this slate trick. This trick con- 
sists in secretly obtaining possession of a billet on which is writ- 
ten a question, addressed to some spirit, and signed by the sitter. 
The subject writes the question out of view of the operator, and 
folds it. The operator now places it in an envelope right before 
the eyes of the spectator, without making any exchange; and 
then proceeds to bum the envelope and th^ paper on which ques- 
tion is written entirely to ashes. 

The appearance of this experiment is that it is one of absolute 
fairness in which there can be no trickery ; yet the real question 
is not burned, but is retained and afttrwards read by the operator. 

This is accomplished partly by a trick envelope which I pre- 
pare as follows : I take a medium-sized envelope and cut a slit in 
Its face about one and one-half inches in length. This slit is 
situated half way between the two edges of the envelope and runs 
parallel with its length. It can not be seen from the Tear side of 
the envelope, as it is cut just low enough to be out of view from 
the rear side when the flap is opened up. 

I next take a small piece of blank paper and fold it to a size of 

154 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

three-quarters of an inch by one inch and a quarter. I place this 
in the prepared envelope in a vertical position, at the envelope's 
centre, and touch the side of it that is away from the slit or next 
to the rear side of the envelope with library paste. This keeps 
the slip in position. I place this slip low enough in the envelope 
to have its upper end out of view when the flap is raised. 

This prepared envelope is in a box with some others in such 
position that I can readily select it; yet it appears when viewe.l 
from the flap side as an ordinary envelope. During the experi- 
ment this envelope is handled in such manner that its face, or 
slit side, is always away from the subject. 

I now give the spectator a small pad of blank paper and re- 
quest him to select a sheet from it, and to write on that sheet any 
question he desires answered, and to address the same to some 
spirit and sign his own name to it. When this is done I direct 
him to fold it a number of times so that when he is through its 
size will be the same as that of the " dummy " slip concealed in 
the prepared envelope. 

When he has done this, I reach and take the billet out of his 
hands with my right hand. At the same time with my left hand 
I take from the box of envelopes the prepared one. I take this 
envelope in my left hand with the face or slit side next to my 
palm, and with my left thumb I open up the flap. I hold it so 
that the spectator can see me place his billet in this' envelope ; 
which I do right under his eyes, using my hands so that he can 
see that all is fair and no exchange made. In reality, I slip the 
lower end of his billet through the slit on the face of the envelope 
next to my palm. I push this billet in just far enough so that its 
top end remains in view, and immediately moisten and seal the 
flap over it. 

Just as I finish sealing the envelope, I take it in my right 
hand ; but by pressing the fingers of my left hand against the protruding 
end of the billet, it is drawn completely out of the slit and remains 
in my left hand. As I make this move I direct my own gaze 
towards my right hand and the envelope in it, and call the atten- 
tion of the spectator to the fact that his billet is still within the 
sealed envelope. I hold the envelope towards a window or a 
light, and he can see the shadow of the dummy billet within, 
which also conceals the shadow of the slit. While I make this 
move and direct the subject's attention towards my right hand in 
this manner, at the instant that my right hand takes it from the 
left hand, making the succeeding moves, my left hand goes into 
my pocket in a natural manner to get a match with which to light 
the envelope and burn it. The billet in my left hand is of course 
left in my pocket with the surplus matches. 

This should all be done in a natural manner, and the attention 
called to the fact that the billet is still within the envelope ; at the 

spirit Slate-lVriting and Billet Tests. 155 

same time exhibiting its shadow, or rather that of the " dummy," 
and remarking, " We will take a match and will now burn the 
envelope." As I say this I strike the match and light the enve- 
lope, holding it over a small vessel on the table until it is en- 
tirely consumed. 

There should not be too many thicknesses of the dummy bil- 
let in the envelope, as this retards it too much in burning. Dur- 
ing all these maneuvers I always keep the face or slit side of the 
envelope from the spectator. 

I now retire to an adjoining room to get some slates, and 
while out, I secretly read and memorize the question and names. 
I then enter with eight small slates and one large one. I lay 
them on the table and request the subject to examine and clean 
them all. As this is done I have him stack the small slates on 
the centre of the table, and when they are all thus placed, to lay 
the large one on top of the stack. 

I now take a seat opposite him at the table, and we place our 
palms on this slate for a time ; after which we make an examin- 
ation in search of a message, but of course, find none. This is 
repeated a few times; when finally I seem dissatisfied, pick up 
the top slate, and holding it upright in front of me, proceed to 
write an automatic message just as " automatic writers " do. 

What I really do is this, — when I pick up the large slate I 
also pick up with it, underneath and pressed tightly against it, the 
small slate on top of the stack. I tilt the large slate in handling 
it so as to conceal from the subject the fact that I have picked up 
a small slate, and he merely thinks that I have only the large one 
in my hands. The small slate is pressed against the large one on 
the side next to me. As the spectator sits opposite me at the 
table, he can see nothing. 

I now write on the small slate a message, answering his ques- 
tion, and using the proper names, etc. I next proceed to read to 
him what I have written, or rather pretend to do so; but in fact I 
repeat something entirely foreign to the subject. I then ask him 
if this is a satisfactory answer to his question. He, of course, 
informs me that it is not; whereupon, seeming dissatisfied, I 
moisten my fingers and apparently erase the message from the 
slate. This is of course a mere pretense. I leave the message 
on the small slate; and when I have appeared to erase it, I re- 
place the large slate on the stack. This I do without showing 
him the side next to me. Of course the small slate, being under 
the large one, unseen by him, is replaced at the same time mes- 
sage side down. 

We now replace our palms, and after a time examine the large 
slate for a message, but find none. I may incidentally remark 
that this last examination unconsciously verifies in the sitter's 
mind the fact that I erased what I wrote automatically. 

156 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 

I now look on some of the smaller slates for a message but 
find none. When I do this I do not turn these slates over and 
look on the under sides, but merely take off the top slate to see 
if there be a message on the upper surface of the one under it, I 
merely say, " Well, there is nothing on that slate," indicating the 
second one from the top; and at the same time I drop the top 
slate now in my hand upon the table beside the stack. I im- 
mediately take off the second slate and repeat this same per- 
formance, dropping it on top the first one. I keep on until I have 
removed four or five of the slates, when seeming discouraged, I 
remark, " I guess there is no message ; and I replace the second 
stack on the first one. This places the message slate four or five 
slates down in the stack ; as the bottom slate of the second stack, 
being the top slate of the original stack, is the message slate. 

I next up-edge the small slates and place a rubber band 
around them, placing them in the sitter's lap. I, of course, place 
what was the top side of the stack downwards, as in the forego- 
ing slate trick. In due time I tell the subject to make an exam- 
ination for a message, and of course three or four slates down he 
finds a message on the upper surface of one of the slates. 

This seems very miraculous, as the slates have been so repeat- 
edly examined and nothing found. The message answers his 
question which was apparently burned, and he entirely forgets 
that at one time I wrote on the large slate and erased the writing. 
Finding the message on the upper surface of a middle slate makes 
the effect seem very marvellous. The subject having cleaned and 
stacked these slates himself, and having seen them examined so 
many times, naturally feels impressed that the message comes 
by some super-human power. 

There is another trick with a stack of slates which is very 
effective. In this trick no large slate is used. The message is 
prepared in advance on a small slate, and this slate is concealed 
on the floor under the end of a small rug behind the table. As 
the spectator cleans each slate, the operator takes it and places it 
on the rug directly over the concealed slate. When all of the 
slates are cleaned, the operator picks up the stack from the floor; 
and secretly inserting his fingers under the concealed slate be- 
neath the rug, he draws it out and picks it up with the other 

The move is made so that it appears as if the operator merely 
picks up the slates on top of the rug, and the subject never sus- 
pects that a concealed one is drawn at the same time from under 
the rug. This concealed slate has the message side upwards, and 
the stack of slates are now evened up and laid on the chair; 
where, after holding the palms on them for a time, the subject 
examines them and finds the message. 

Sometimes, when I perform this trick, I have the message 

spirit Slate-Writing and Billet Tests, 157 

slate on a table under a newspaper. When we take our seats at 
the table, I remove the newspaper out of my way, and lay it on 
the floor, a chair, on another table. I then lay the slates on the 
table to be cleaned. Of course, I secretly remove the concealed 
slate under the newspaper when I remove it, and lay both on the 
floor, chair, or table. 

As the spectator cleans the slates I stack them on this news- 
paper, and when I pick up the cleaned slates, I draw out the 
message slate as in the preceding trick. 

There is another means of secretly securing knowledge of a 
subject's questions, or, as is sometimes done by mediums, of a 
confession of some secret thing which such subject has done, or 
in which he desires help, and yet is anxious to keep secret. Here 
a stack of small slates, with one large one, is again used. 

In the latter case the medium informs the subject that he does 
not care to know what the subject may confess; but that it is 
necessary for him to write out a full confession, giving all names, 
etc., if he desires spiritual aid: that, however, he is at perfect 
liberty to keep the confession entirely secret. 

The subject is then given a slip of paper, or. he may use his 
own ; and he is directed to write out his confession, or questions, 
as the case may be, and to seal the same in an envelope lying on 
the table. While he is doing this the medium is sitting and writ- 
ing on the large slate, as if busy with some matter of his own. 
He sits side-wise to the subject and does not appear to watch him. 
When the subject has written as he is directed, the medium 
instructs him to seal his paper in the envelope and to lay it on 
top of the stack of small slates which are on the table in front of 
him. When he has done so, the medium places the large slate on 
top of the stack of small slates, and asks the sitter to write on this 
large slate the name of some dead relative. When this is done, 
the medium lifts the large slate off the stack, secretly carrying 
under it the top small slate. At the same time he asks the sitter 
if this name be that of a dead relative. 

Now, on the second small slate from the top, the medium has 
previously secretly placed a duplicate envelope with a sheet of 
paper in it ; so that when the top slate is carried away secretly, 
under the large slate, and bearing on its upper surface between 
it and the large slate the envelope containing the writing of the 
sitter, this duplicate envelope on top of the remaining slates will 
appear to be the one the sitter has just sealed and placed there. 

The operator usually has some paper and other loose objects 
on one end of the table, so that he can lay down the large slate 
with the concealed one under it ; and so that the concealed slate 
will not make its presence known by preventing the large slate 
from touching the table, as would be the case were it laid flat 
upon it. 

158 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

The operator now asks the subject to lay his envelope on the 
table to one side, and to select two of the slates. This he does, 
and the medium now has the subject place his palms on these 
selected slates and try for a slate writing. He remarks that he 
does not feel quite right just now, and fears that he can not suc- 
ceed, as conditions do not seem favorable. After a short trial 
and failure, he generally tells the subject that he will have to give 
up at present ; but for him to return tomorrow or later in the day, 
and he will make a second effort, when conditions will doubtless 
be more favorable. He says, " Remember your questions (or 
confession) " ; and reaching, he takes up the duplicate envelope 
which the subject thinks contains his writing, and says, " I shall 
let you take this with you — no, I shall not, either ; as that would 
not be right. I shall just bum it up." Suiting the action to the 
word, he takes a match and burns the duplicate envelope and 
paper entirely to ashes, allowing the latter to fall on one of the 
slates. He now dismisses the subject, after making an appoint- 
ment for a second trial. 

As soon as the subject has departed, the medium lifts the large 
slate; and taking up the original envelope on top of the con- 
cealed small slate, he opens and reads the confession, or ques- 
tions, as the case may be. He thoroughly memorizes all, and 
prepares a fine message, answering everything ; so that when the 
subject returns, he will have all of his writing answered very 

The medium with whom I am acquainted, and who works 
this fine trick very frequently, generally has the subject depart 
and make a second visit as herein described ; but if he prefers, he 
can, after failing to produce a message, and after burning the 
duplicate envelope, conduct his guest to some other apartment 
for some other experiment, and return later for a second trial for 
a message. In this case an assistant enters the room, reads the 
writing, and prepares the message during the absence of the 
medium and his guest. 

If the medium has a dark chamber, he can have taken the 
subject into it for some dark sitting manifestations; as the ab- 
sence of light waves is very conducive to success with the " spir- 
its," and is very helpful in " establishing favorable conditions and 
harmony." After some experiment here, they return and again 
try for a slate writing; and this time the subject is thoroughly 
satisfied and convinced. 

If, when a sitter receive a slate writing, from a dear one who 
is dead, he receive in addition thereto a token of love in the shape 
of a flower, a handkerchief of soft silk, or some other object, the 
performance has a very emotional effect on him ; and such token 
is usually preserved throughout life. Now, in working any of 
hese tricks using a stack of slates, if a large number of small 

spirit Slate-Writing and Billet Tests. 159 

slates be used, such as twelve or more, two slates can be added or 
removed under the large slate instead of one, and will attract no 
notice, if removed or added when a sufficient number are in the 
stack. These two may contain between them, in addition to the 
message, such flower or token, as the medium may desire. 

If the performer be able deftly to hold the token against the 
lower side of the concealed small slate, and adroitly to insert it, 
he need not have more than one small slate under the large one. 


One other variation of this trick is being worked at the present 
time by a very noted medium. The slates are placed in a stack 
on a small table directly in front of the sitter. He is requested 
to clean them one at a time. As he does so the operator, who 
stands at his left, takes the slates in his left hand, and stacks them 
on the left corner of the table. 

There is a mantel just back of the operator and his subject, 
on which lies concealed behind some object a duplicate slate with 
a message on its under side. As soon as the fourth or fifth slate 
is cleaned and in place on the stack, the performer, who stands 
somewhat behind the subject, takes secretly with his right hand 
the slate from the mantel. Just as the sitter finishes cleaning 
the next slate, the performer takes it from him with his left 
hand ; but, just before placing it on the stack, he makes a pass, 
leaving this slate in his right hand and carrying away from his 
right hand the message-slate. This pass can be executed in- 
stantly, and is immediately followed by placing the message-slate 
on the stack, message side down, with the left hand ; while at the 
same instant the right hand returns, to the position on the man- 
tel, the slate the sitter has just cleaned. 

As soon as the stack is formed, the medium up-edges the 
slates, evens them up, and slips a rubber band around them, giv- 
ing them into the sitter's lap to be held. The stack is turned as in 
the preceding tricks, and the effect on finding the message is just 
as great. 

In regard to making the pass with the slates, the operator 
should partly face towards the sitter's chair and stand at the left 
side of the sitter, so that his right hand is far enough back to be 
out of the angle of vision of the sitter. The slates should be 
taken with the left hand and placed on the stack at the left. 
When the exchange is made, the left hand, on taking the slate 
from the subject, should move for the merest instant back of the 
range of his vision, meeting the right hand and making the ex- 
change. It should do this and zvithout pause place the message 
slate on the stack. The whole move should take but a fraction of 
a second, using about the same length of time that is used in 
placing the other slates in position. Some remark about the next 

160 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

slate to be cleaned, just at this instant, helps to divert the sitter's 
attention and make the exchange more impossible of detection. 

I shall now describe how to make the " switch " as well as I 
can without drawing, and any reader wishing to try these tricks 
should master this move thoroughly. It is used in the next 
trick which I am going to describe, and which is one of the very 
best of slate tricks. The move is made in this manner: The 
slate in the left hand is taken between the thumb and index 
finger, and rests in a horizontal position on the side of the finger 
facing the thumb. The remaining fingers of the left hand do not 
touch the slate, but are below the index finger; so that they, as 
well as the hand, forms a right angle with the surface of the 
slate. The middle finger is spread apart from the index finger, 
thus forming with it an opening into which the slate from the 
right hand is to be slipped. The slate taken in the right hand is 
also taken in a similar position ; but just the instant before making 
the pass, I always brine the index finger on top of the slate and 
hold the slate pressed between the index finger and the middle 
or large finger. I keep the right thumb elevated, or separated 
from the index finger, and bring the two hands together, passing 
the slate in the right hand below the slate in the left hand until 
the latter is directly over the former. The slate from the right 
hand enters between the index and second fingers of the left 
hand, which should immediately g^asp it tightly ; and the fingers 
of the right hand holding it should at the same time release their 
g^a^ on it. 

The index finger of the right hand passes below the slate in 
the left hand when the above maneuver is made, and the right 
thumb passes over this slate. These should instantly grasp the 
left hand slate while the left thumb and index finger release it. 
The hands should be instantly separated, the right now carrying 
away the slate held before in the left hand, and the left hand 
carrying away the slate held in the right hand. This move does 
not require over a tenth of a second and is very simple and easy 
to execute, if one will but try it. Without figures it requires 
some little description, but it is very simple nevertheless. 

If any reader of this paper will take two small padded slates 
and try this move for five minutes, constantly passing the slates 
from one hand to the other and back again, the " switch " can be 
made many times a minute; and in five minutes' practice the 
hands will do the work almost by reflex action, without looking 
at them at all, and the reader will then be able to execute the 
trick which I shall describe in the next article. 

(To be continued.) 

Editorial. 161 


We begin in this issue of the Journal a series of articles by 
Mr. David P. Abbott on "Spirit Slate-writing and Billet 
Tests." They will continue through several numbers of the 
Journal Mr. Abbott is himself an expert prestidigitator and 
has invented some tricks of the character here described. 
In the letter which announced the sending of his articles he 
said : 

" I do not know what interest this paper may have for the 
general reader, but I do know that magicians and conjurors 
will regard it as one of the best collections of such secrets 
which has been given to the public, for the reason that the 
secrets which were published were not very practical and not 
much used. All of these described in this paper, however, 
are being used at the present time with the greatest success, 
and they represent the most improved methods of the present 

Mr. Abbott adds that he is constantly meeting magicians 
who add to his collection of tricks. The circumstance is 
worth noting because the influence of the work of the Society 
for Psychical Research has been to revive expectations which 
the Report of the Seybert Commission tended to remove, 
and the public needs to be warned or educated against ad- 
venturers that prey upon the credulity of all who are looking 
for the " supernatural." One of our most important tasks 
will be to expose the claims of all who act as adventurers or 
allege physical miracles without adequate evidence for their 

The first number of the Proceedings has recently ap- 
peared. The articles consist of a History of the Campaign 
for the Institute ; the republication for permanent record of 
the Prospectus of the Institute ; the reprint of an important 
letter ( 1837) by Mr. William L. Stone, who was once a prom- 
inent man in New York state and its history and was closely 
connected with the Commercial Advertiser — the pamphlet 
being a record of an important case at that day ; a review of 

162 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 

a case of' alleged partial dematerialization of the body of a 
medium ; and a paper on Parallelism and Materialism. It is 
hoped that, in an early number to follow this one, we shall be 
able to publish the detailed record of some experiments with 
the Smead Case. 

In order that there may be no misunderstanding, the 
statement which is made in the circulars is also made here, 
namely, — that Associates receive only the JournaL In order 
to receive the Proceedings an additional fee of $5.00 a year is 
required. This arrangement will be necessary at least until 
an endowment has been obtained. The Proceedings will con- 
tain the more detailed investigations and records of the So- 
ciety, while the Journal will contain the less important mate- 
rial connected with the work of the Society. 

I wish to call the attention of readers of the Journal to a 
society in New York city calling itself " The American 
Institute for Psychical Research," which has assumed a name 
nearly enough like that of the American Institute for Scien- 
tific Research and of the American Society for Psychical Re- 
search to be mistaken for them. Readers already know that 
the American Society for Psychical Research is simply a Sec- 
tion of the American Institute, and so linked with it as to be a 
part of it and its plans. Apparently the appropriation of the 
title " American Institute for Psychical Research " would 
confuse the public regarding its relation to the body of which 
the Journal and Proceedings are the organs. I do not know 
what motives induced this body to use the title which it has 
adopted- But we must say to readers of this Journal and to 
members of the American Society for Psychical Research 
that the American Institute for Psychical Research has noth- 

to do with either the American Institute for Scientific Re- 

or the American Society for Psychical Research. It 

Ily independent body whose aims and methods are 

and it is necessary to make this public statement of 

Editorial. 163 

the fact to prevent any misunderstanding of the real nature 
of this local body assuming so misleading a name. 

It may be proper to explain definitely in a few words what 
the scientific object and conception of psychic research is. 
From the criticism which is often directed against the Society 
by those who have already been convinced of the super- 
normal it can be inferred that we are too sceptical and critical. 
In fact, many assume that science is convertible with scepti- 
cism and critical complaining. It may be that many stu- 
dents of psychic phenomena are to blame, or at least partly 
to blame, for this impression of its work. But whether this 
be true or not, it is certain that the primary object of the 
Society is often misunderstood by all who assume that sci- 
ence must accept its facts without criticism. I admit that the 
scepticism of some people is as irrational as the credulity of 
others, but that fact is no excuse for misconceiving the nature 
of scientific method. 

The primary object of science is observation of facts and 
the determination of evidence. Explanation, which many 
people thinks its main purpose, is purely secondary. No 
doubt the chief interest in facts, on the part of most people, is 
in the theories assuming to assign their causes. But for 
the really scientific man theories and explanations occupy a 
subordinate place, and facts the first place. To assure him- 
self of what the facts are and whether they come under ac- 
cepted explanations he has to adopt definite and rigid criteria 
of evidence. Hence scientific problems are primarily occu- 
pied with evidence when the hypothesis of any new agencies 
is involved. As psychic research is concerned with the ad- 
mission of new causes into human belief and knowledge its 
main object at present is to ascertain the credibility of certain 
alleged facts. This will require the application of the most 
rigid methods of weighing evidence and the criticism of all 
alleged phenomena which do not easily fit into the scheme of 
admitted knowledge. I do not mean to assume in this that 
the present scheme of knowledge is at any time an absolute 
criterion of truth by any means; for nothing is more certain 


164 Journnl of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

than the fact that we are constantly making accessions to the 
conquests of the past and almost as constantly altering the 
conceptions and the theories of our predecessors. But that 
alteration must always be made with the least amount of fric- 
tion and variation from accepted doctrines. Hence we are 
necessarily concerned with the study of evidence, so that for 
our purposes we might even define scientific method as the 
application of criteria for the determination of assured data 
of fact, and explanation must await that result. 

Another point in this determination of evidence, also, is 
the fact that scientific method requires us to validate our facts 
in such a way that personal experience of the believer will not 
be the only evidence for his convictions. Science is not per- 
sonal experience, nor does it depend for establishing convic- 
tion upon personal witness of the facts. It consists in so 
determining its facts that those who cannot experience the 
same must accept them and the conclusions drawn from them. 
This was what was done with Roentgen rays, radio-active 
phenomena, wireless telegraphy, evolution, gravitation, Co- 
perhican astronomy, and nearly all similar scientific beliefs. 

The consequence is that the field of science in psychic re- 
search is much narrower than the popular mind supposes. It 
cannot accept every alleged fact that ifmeets. It must in- 
vestigate, and validate by the severest methods of investiga- 
tion and criticism that it can apply. 

Incidents, 165 


The Society assumes no responsibility for anything pub- 
lished under this head and no indorsement is implied except 
that it has been furnished by an apparently trustworthy con- 
tributor whose name is given unless withheld at his own 


In the case of "Collective Hallucination," published in the 
February Journal, one sentence is not clear from the omission 
of several words. In line 28, after the word " anywhere " the 
reader should understand or insert: "The pockets of my 
clothes," this having escaped notice in the original copy. The 
idea which the author wished to convey was that coins could 
not have fallen from these pockets owing to the fact that they 
were inclined upwards and not downwards. The correction 
suggested will make the sentence clear. 


The following incident was mentioned to me by the sister 
of the gentleman who reports it, and on writing to him about 
it he sent me the following account. The sister confirms the 
experience. The gentleman referred me to a friend who 
could also corroborate it, but communication with him re- 
sulted in a letter from a friend who told me that the man was 
suffering from illness that made it unlikely that he could ever 
answer my inquiry. The reader will remark that the inci- 
dent occurred long ago, but the circumstances were appar- 
ently such as to make it worthy of record, especially as it 
comes from perfectly intelligent sources. 

Mount Vernon, N. Y., November 14th, 1906. 
Mr. James H. Hyslop : 

Dear Sir: — ^In 1849 when I was seventeen (17) years old, I 
was on a vacation visit to my home in Glens Falls, New York. 
On the 5th of July in company with another boy, George Fergu- 
son, I started out to hunt pigeons. As I had no gun, I hired a 
double-barreled shot gun of a gunsmith. When we reached what 
we considered good hunting ground, Ferguson and I separated 

166 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

with an agreement to meet on the main road, he going to the 
north of said road and I going to the south. I had shot several 
pigeons when a number alighted on a tree within range of my 
gun. The country about was covered with scrub oak and pine 
with here and there a few trees. Concealing myself in the brush 
I fired the left hand barrel of my gun, bringing down three or 
four birds. As the others did not fly, I raised my gun for an- 
other shot, but it missed fire. This did not surprise me, as I 
was using percussion caps, and accustomed to finding a defective 
one occasionally. Putting on a new cap I again raised my gun 
to fire, when I heard in a plain voice the words, " Don't shoot." 
I was as sure as I possibly could be that no human being was 
anywhere near me, and cold chills ran down my back. I hesi- 
tated, turned my head, and looked about, and then using a coun- 
try boy's phrase, said to myself, " Well, I would not be brought 
up in the woods to be scared by an owl." I again raised my gun, 
when I heard " Don't shoot, don't shoot," as plainly as it could be 
spoken, but I did shoot. I heard a humming in my ears which 
grew fainter and fainter until I was unconscious. How long I 
remained so I do not know. Consciousness came back very 
slowly and when it did I felt weak and sore, and endeavoring to 
take in the situation and finding that I could not see, fainted. 
On recovering consciousness, I felt around and, securing my 
gun, found that it had burst, tearing out a piece from the breach 
about six inches long. I knew that I was near a fence that ran 
north and south and that almost opposite where it joined the 
fence on the main road was a house which I managed to reach. 
The woman who lived there was so frightened at my appearance, 
though she was well acquainted with me, that she ran screaming 
into the woods. I felt all about till I found a pail of water and 
after cleaning my head and face as well as I could was just able 
to distinguish light a very little with my left eye. I started on 
the road homeward, and was soon joined by Ferguson, who as- 
sisted me. From secondary inflammation I became totally blind 
for a few weeks and it was nine months before I could read at 
all, I have only one good eye now. Who or what told me not 

The reader may notice that the incident is an old one, 
having occurred in 1849, fifty-seven years ago. We might 
suppose, if we were willing to do so without evidence, that an 
illusion of memory in regard to the phenomenon might have 
occurred to give it a premonitory color. But we should have 
to account for the physical effects on the eyes and the actual 
shooting of the gun, which are ordinary events and capable of 

Incidents. 167 

more or less verification. Such an objection would have to 
limit its application to the single incident of the apparent 
voice which is said to have preceded the accident. AH the 
other details would excite no scepticism in any case, and it 
would not seem natural to suppose that the incident of the 
voice would be interpolated in the case by an illusion of mem- 
ory, since it is not a natural accident of such events in human 

I am sure, however, aside from other instances of premo 
nition, that it would stretch the case considerably to suppose 
it to have been occasioned by an illusion of memory. Fortu- 
nately we have the testimony of the sister that she was told 
of the fact soon after the accident. Consequently the fifty- 
seven years do not interfere so appreciably with the integrity 
of the narrative. I quote the sister's letter : 

352 Lexington Ave., New York, 

December 6th, 1906. 
Mr. Charles Hill Willson is my brother and immediately after 
the bursting of his gun he told me of the accident and the voice 
he twice heard, saying " don't shoot," as he now writes you re- 
garding it. Very sincerely yours, 


We should have to suppose two illusions of memory in 
regard to the incident, which would be extremely unlikely. 
We, of course, are not concerned with the nature of the 
"voice," whether objective or subjective. That is a point 
that need not be considered. The primary question is 
whether anything occurred in the mental life of Mr. Willson 
that he might denominate in this manner, and if we should 
accept it as purely subjective it would not alter the question 
of its real or apparent significance. The sceptic need not 
object to its objective or real nature as an impossibility ; for 
we do not require to suppose the " voice " as more than hal- 
lucinatory or apparent in order to assume its possible signi- 
ficance for an objective meaning. The real question is 
whether any such mental event took place, and the objection 
to its being " real " will not apply to such a possibility. Only 
an illusion of memory seems to be relevant as an objection 

168 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

to its apparent significance, since the supposition that some 
one not seen had shouted at Mr. Wilson and had not revealed 
himself afterward, tho possibly con jectur able, seems very far 
fetched. The coincidence of the " voice " as a warning with 
the accident to Mr. Willson rather makes such a conjecture 
doubtful, especially when he had himself suspected this and 
looked for the person. 

There are other instances of similar phenomena which 
show that this one is not isolated, and hence suspicion of the 
facts may not be so defensible. ■ Only the explanation seems 
open to consideration and I do not venture upon tKat for iso- 
lated instances. 


The present instance was recorded, as the reader will 
observe, a little more than a year after its occurrence. The 
peculiar character of it and the details prevent its being ex- 
posed to the conjectural objection of the previous case. Dr. 
Hager who reports it as his experience is a practicing physi- 
cian and apparently of good standing. 

For a number of years previous to the happening of the fol- 
lowing incident I had been reading in the "Scientific American " 
of the superiority of the " Whaleback " type of lake boats, and 
because of this I was very much interested in their construction. 
On June 22nd, 1895,* I had an opportunity to take a trip on the 

♦ I wrote to a friend in Chicago to verify the dates and incidents of the 
accident in the Chicago papers and the reply was that no such incident was 
reported in the papers for July or August, tho the writer remembered both 
the accident and the name of the steamer, I then wrote to Dr. Hager of the 
possible error in date, and the following letter explains the matter : 

James H. Hyslop, Feb. i6th, 1907. 

Secretary American Society for Psychical Research, 
Dear Sir: 

My attention has been called to the fact that the dates given in reference 
to the Whaleback affair were not corroborated. 

As I had never written about the incident before and did not record it at 
the time I always associated it with the day after a conspicuous day of the 
year, and so had the 4th of July on my mind. Since my attention has been 
called to this matter I have looked up the exact dates, especially the refer- 
ences thereto in the Chicago papers and Hnd that I was mistaken in the date, 
and that it was the day after the longest in the year, viz., June 22d, or about 

Incidents. 169 

**Whaleback Christopher Columbus," then run as a separate 
excursion boat in opposition to the " Virginia," of the Goodrich 
line, from Chicago to Milwaukee and return, and I gladly availed 
myself of the opportunity. 

It was the " Whaleback's " first trip for the season and there 
were only a comparatively small number of passengers on board. 
It had been hinted during the 1894 season that there was con- 
siderable rivalry between the two boats as to which was the 
better in speed, but no definite conclusion arrived at. (The 
" Whaleback " is now and for the past five years has been in the 
commission of the Goodrich line and I understand that it is con- 
ceded that she is by far the better and faster boat of the two. ) 

We arrived in Milwaukee about one hour late of the sched- 
uled time and we were notified that the boat would return 
promptly at scedule time the same evening. I had about one 
and a half hours to visit in Milwaukee and therefore hurried 
through the principal streets. As I was returning and when near 
the docks I met my old-time friend, Max Hoffmann, and his trav- 
eling companion. Mr. Hoffman is a spiritual medium or clair- 
voyant and had several times before given me so-called tests. 
Our meeting was a surprise to each, but cordial, and we both 
entered a restaurant for light lunch before the boat's return trip. 
Mr. Hoffmann expressed himself very glad to see me, as also to 
have the pleasure of my company on the return trip to Chicago, 
but I interrupted him with the inquiry as to which boat he would 
return on, and when he stated that he would return on the " Vir- 
ginia," I informed him that I had return passage on the " Chris- 
topher Columbus," and that he should secure his return ticket on 
that boat. He requested me to change my ticket to the " Vir- 
ginia," to which I replied by requesting them to change their 
tickets and go with me on the " Whaleback," which was by far 
the best boat, but he did not want me to return on it as something 
told him there was something the matter with the boat, but he 
could not determine just what it was. In a pleasant way I rid- 
iculed this and persisted that as mine was by far the best boat 

two weeks before the date fixed in my mind. This makes the date of the 
accident June 22d, 1805. 

I ask you to kindly attach this to the original communication and make 
it a part of the record. 


i8i West Madison St, Chicago, 111. 

I have myself personally examined the Chicago papers, as indicated in 
connection with the story below, and can verify the allusions to the accident in 
two of the leading newspapers. 

February i^, 1907. 

170 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

they had better return on the " Whaleback." He became very 
persistent in wanting me to return on the " Virginia," because 
he said he saw bad conditions about me on the '' Whaleback.'* I 
was just as persistent about returning on that particular boat be- 
cause it was the better of the two. 

What happened to the " Whaleback " upon her return voyage 
that evening is history that is recorded in extra local editions of 
the Chicago Sunday papers of June 23rd, 1895, and in the Asso- 
ciated Press dispatches to the daily morning papers of June 24th, 
1895. The bursting under an immense steam pressure of the 
elbow of the large pipe which conveys the steam from the boilers 
to the engine, with the result that thirteen people were scalded, 
two seriously, and d)ring within ten hours after our arrival at 
Chicago on Sunday morning, June 23rd, is the history of that 
eventful trip. The warning was pven me about one-half hour 
before the boat left the docks and the explosion occurred about 
two hours afterward on the above date. 

The " Whaleback " left the docks for return before the " Vir- 
ginia," and when out of the harbor the " Virginia " steamed past 
the " Whaleback," the people cheering and throwing taunts at 
the "Whaleback." The Captain of our boat ordered an extra 
boiler under steam, and it is hinted, and no doubt true, that the 
safety valves of the " Columbus " were plugged and large vol- 
umes of dark smoke came pouring out of her funnels. The 
" Whaleback " was about four miles behind the " Virginia," but 
was rapidly gaining speed under the forced pressure, when the 
explosion occurred. 

The interesting part to me, however,.! will now relate. I 
stood by the ponderous engine until nearly every one had left 
and gone to the front of the upper deck; then I went upstairs 
into the round tower where the large steam pipe comes up from 
the boilers and makes the bend toward the engines. At this 
bend is a large cast iron elbow, which, because of a flaw in the 
casting, as well as the increased pressure, burst. I stood in 
this tower about five or ten minutes looking down through the 
grating and watching the stokers shoveling coal into the fur- 
naces. Then I went out towards the forward part of the ship 
and took a camp stool and sat down upon it. I had barely sat 
down when there was an explosion with an immense volume of 
steam rushing out of the round tower from which I emerged 
only about two minutes previous. As soon as we could penetrate 
through the steam we discovered the burst elbow within three 
feet of where I had previously stood. If this had occurred while 
I had stood there, of course I would have simply been held in the 
tower by the force of the steam (182 pounds, from five boilers) 
and cooked into fricassee. 

Of all the passengers and crew, I had by mere chance per- 

Incidents. 171 

haps, escaped from being in the greatest danger of all. I called 
upon Mr. Hoffmann on Monday, June 24th, and he seemed very 
anxious and glad to see me, as he had forgotten my name, and 
as the extra papers chronicled two deaths from the explosion he 
thought one might have been myself. He stated at this time, 
that as the " Virginia " passed the " Whaleback " a few miles out 
of the harbor of Milwaukee, and as the thick smoke from the 
"Whaleback" silhoutted against the sky, he saw clairvoyantly 
the words " explosion " in the smoke, and that he remarked at 
that time to his companion that he was very sorry that he had 
left me go at all on that boat. 

The warning and accident in this case occurred within three 
hours of each other, and the facts can hardly be explained by 
telepathy, so I have always regarded it as a clear case of premon- 
itory warning. DANIEL S. HAGER, M. D., 

181 W. Madison Street, Chicago, 111. 

Sworn to and subscribed to before 
me this i8th day of November, 1906. 

GEO. A. SEARL, Notary Public. 

Medium Max Hoffmann, 988 N. Western Ave., Chicago, 111. 
Hoffmann's companion, John F. Eichen, Shoe Store, 3056 
Wentworth Ave., Chicago, 111. 

Chicago, 111., Jan. 14th, 1907. 
Dr. James H. Hyslop : 

Dear Sir: — Yours of Nov. 19th, 1906, came to hand in due 
time, but as I have not been quite well, and my time so much 
taken up with other matters, that I have found it impossible to 
answer your favor of the 19th of Nov., 1906. In the first place I 
must let you know that I am a friend of Mr. Max Hoffmann, in 
fact I have travelled with him for years as his secretary, and I 
remember Dr. Hager very well. In fact, it was some years be- 
fore this" incident happened to which you refer in your last letter 
— ^the year I don't exactly know, but I think it must be over six 
years ago. It was at a time when Mr. Hoffmann and myself 
were taking a trip to Milwaukee, Wis., on the Goodrich steamer 
" Virginia,'^ The " Whaleback " leaves the dock before the 
" Virginia " does, here at Chicago, and the same at Milwaukee. 
We had arrived at Milwaukee, and had spent quite a pleasant 
time, and were returning to the steamer, when we met Dr. 
Hzgev. Now, Mr. Hoffmann seemed to think a great deal of Dr. 
Hag-er, and in the conversation which followed Mr. Hoffmann 
persisted in the Dr. going home to Chicago on the " Virginia " 
instead of the " Whaleback," even wanting to get his ticket for 
him, and tried everything to induce him not to go back on tKe 
" Whaleback." But the Dr., for some reason or other, would 

172 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

not go with Mr. Hoffmann, but wanted to know why Mr. Hoflf- 
mann did not want him to go to Chicago on the same boat in 
which he came to Milwaukee, and Mr. Hoffmann told him tfiat 
something would happen on that boat — and that there would be 
an accident, and great confusion, and a great many people would 
be injured, and then Dr. Hager smiled and wanted to know if he 
would be among those who would be injured. Mr. Hoffmann 
hesitated a short while and seemed to be looking over a scene, 
in a sort of a trance. [Now all this conversation was carried on, 
on the street leading to the dock, where the " Virginia " lay, 
ready to leave in an hour or so,] when in answer to the Doctor's 
question, he said, " No ; but," he said, " I see you very busy with 
lots of people around you who are injured, and the excitement for 
a while is something awful, but it won't last long, and then every- 
thing is settled again, but the groaning is still going on." Well, 
Dr. Hager said he was going back on the same boat, so he could 
be of some use to those who would get hurt, but the tone of 
voice in which he said it implied he thought there was nothing in 
it. Well, the " Whaleback " left about half an hour or twenty- 
five minutes before the "Virginia," they being rivals and be- 
longing to different companies, though they are now owned by 
one company. The " Whaleback " had quite the start, and they 
were both firing up in great shape. All were on deck watching 
the race — for it was considered a race by every one until the 
accident happened — amid great excitement and cheering, and 
the "Virginia" seemed to be gaining all the time, and the 
" Whaleback " doing the jocking across the " Virginia's " course 
— till finally some one on our boat looking through a field glass 
shouted, " Something has happened to the * Whaleback.' " In a 
few minutes or more, the " Virginia," after signalling to the 
" Whaleback," slowed down and kept slowing down until we 
arrived in Chicago over an hour late, and a large inquiring crowd 
looking for friends that had taken the boat for Milwaukee. The 
accident happened off Waukegan, but it had been telephoned into 
Chicago long before the boat arrived. Now, that is about what 
I can tell you of the accident to which the Doctor refers. I 
could tell you more, but it would be only what I heard about the 
accident, and I think the Doctor has given you the particulars, 
for he was there on the spot, and knows whereof he speaks. As 
I remember, the " Whaleback " burst a six or eight inch steam 
pipe* and it being an excursion quite a number of people were 
burned and scalded by the escaping steam. Others were over- 
come from excitement. Trusting this will be of interest to the 
-^lety and yourself, I remain, yours, 

I Wentworth Ave., Chicago, 111. 

Incidents, 173 

I myself verified the references to the accident in two of 
the Chicago papers, the Tribune and the Inier-Ocean. The 
Chicago Tribune for Sunday, June 23rd, 1895, on its first page 
gives an account of an explosion on the Christopher Colum- 
bus and states that it took place about 8 P. M. the previous 
evening oft Waukegan. It also states that the boat was a 
rival of the Virginia. 

The Chicago Inter-Ocean of the same date makes a similar 
statement. It describes the bursting of a steam pipe on the 
Christopher Columbus off Waukegan while racing with the 
Virginia, and calls it a Whaleback steamer, fixing the acci- 
dent at about 8 P. M. of the previous day. Both articles are 
long ones and give many details of the accident. 

The fact that an illusion of memory occurred in regard to 
the date of the accident and experience is a good illustration 
of what we have to watch for in such narratives, and, in many 
a critic, will awaken a cautious spirit with regard to the more 
fundamental features of such cases. Fortunately the inci- 
dents are corroborated by another person and hence, with 
other records of similar phenomena, we may regard the in- 
stance as deserving a place in a record of collective experi- 
ence. It would not so readily occur that the memory would 
invent or distort the relation between the main incidents of 
the story, tho it mistook the date. But at all events, the case 
shows what demands we have a right to make upon the na- 
ture of the evidence which seems to forecast future events. 
It is hoped that people having such experiences will record 
them at times which will free them from this simplest of sus- 


Jan. isth, 1907. 
I sat down to read proofs a moment ago, and, in the sentence, 
" I had hoped by the article to begin the task of crystalizing," the 
syllabic " izing " beginning the next line, I read the word " crys- 
talizing " as " crystal gazing " twice, and being puzzled by its 
irrelevance I looked a third time and found that it was a most 
distinct illusion. I had a few minutes — perhaps ten or fifteen — 
before been occupied with the subject of classifying crystal vis- 

174 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

Immediately I resolved to test my secretary and, taking the 
proofs around to her asked her to read the sentence aloud, with- 
out saying what I wanted. At the same time I willed that she 
should say " crystal gazing " instead of '' crystalizing," which she 
did twice. As soon as it was over she told me that just a second 
or two before I asked her to read the sentence she saw an appari- 
tion of a crystal and thought of crystal-gazing several times. 
She could not have seen or known what I was thinking about. 


P. S. — I have tried several times since to consciously impress 
the mind of my secretary telepathically and have not succeeded. 


Dreams and Their Meanings. By Horace G. Hutchinson. 
Longmans, Green & Co. 

Although this book has now been out some time, it is appar- 
ently little known to persons interested in psychical research- 
certainly not so well known as it should be. It is a book of great 
interest and importance, for the reason that it covers a certain 
field not hitherto traversed in the literature of the subject— 
which is both poor and scanty. Considerable matter of interest 
is to be found in Greenwood's Imagination in Dreams, in Jcwett's 
Sleep and Dreams, in Kingsford's Dreams and Dream Stories, in 
Stanton's Dreams of the Dead, in Marie de Manaceine's Sleep, in 
the Proceedings and Journals of the Society for Psychical Re- 
search, London, and other publications. The interest of the 
present book lies in the fact that it considers certain matters con- 
nected with sleep and dreams not dealt with in other books on 
the subject. What these special questions are we will consider 
presently, — after first taking a rapid glance at the contents of the 
book as a whole. 

The last two chapters are devoted to telepathic and clairvoy- 
ant dreams, and, though they have great interest to the psychical 
researcher, I pass over them here for the reason that the cases 
quoted are almost exclusively drawn for the Journals and Pro- 
ceedings of the English S. P. R., and the cases can all be seen in 
the original publications by anyone taking the trouble to refer to 
them. The chapter on " Interpretations " is of less interest, be- 
ing practically a classified list of dreams interpreted in the same 
manner as they are interpreted in the popular Dream Books, and 
hence of no scientific value. The rest of the book may be 
called scientific in character, and more directly interests us now. 

The first chapter, then, is devoted to " What Science has to 
Say About Them " (dreams) and considers and summarizes the 

Book Reviews. 175 

various theories that have been put forward to account for nor- 
mal dreams — conditions of blood supply, sensory stimulation, 
bodily conditions, etc., — as well as considering certain psycho- 
logical questions of general interest. Of these, the most impor- 
tant are the length or duration of dreams, the comparative vivid- 
ness, the influence of the daily life and thoughts upon the con- 
tent of the dream, etc., — all of which has been pretty fully dis- 
cussed elsewhere. One remaric, however, calls for special men- 
tion because of the important conclusion that can be drawn from 
the statement made. It is : " We cannot determine what they 
shall be about, by fixing our mind on any particular subject 
before we drop off to sleep, nor can we, after waking out of a 
pleasant dream, prolong it, by thinking of its incidetfts, when we 
again fall to sle^p. I am well aware that there are exceptions to 
this rule — ^people who claim, and no doubt justly, to be able to 
influence in a great measure the course of their dreaming 
thoughts, but they are in a very small minority. . . .'* (p. 15) 
This brings before our minds clearly the fact that here is a world 
of which we do not know the laws, and over which we have prac- 
tically no control. We cannot tell what may or may not happen 
in that world, when once we enter it, nor can we control our 
thoughts in it, though we may be perfectly rational beings, and 
capable of willing to do so. Just in a similar manner it may be 
that, in the Piper case, e, g., the " controls " are alive and active, 
but when they come in contact with the " light," and more or 
less lose control of their faculty of thinking and willing volun- 
tarily, many things are apt to occur over which they have no 
control, and for which they are not responsible. The point I wish 
to make is that we are not entitled to say what " spirits " should 
or should not do, in the next life ; or when, how and what they 
ought to communicate, without knowing anything of that other 
life — ^its laws and possibilities, and the amount of control the 
various spirits (granting that they exist) have over their own 
thoughts and actions. When communicating, they may be just 
as incapable of controlling their thoughts as we are our dreams. 

The question of the remembrance of dreams is another ques- 
tion which our author has touched upon in an interesting man- 
ner, — though all too briefly, considering the importance of the 
problem. Many authors consider it a sign of disease, if we ever 
dream ; others on the other hand assert that we constantly dream 
during sleep, and that no sleep is absolutely dreamless! That 
sleep which appears to be so is merely a sleep in which the 
dreams are not remembered On this theory, we dream con- 
stantly, but only a few of them are remembered, on waking. To 
dream, then, is perfectly normal, and it might even be urged that 
dreamless sleep is abnormal. Is it ,then normal to dream or not? 
I myself have thought about this problem much, and it has oc- 

176 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

curred to me that a possible solution of the problem is to be found 
in the combination of both theories : i. e., both are right and both 
are wrong, to a certain extent. It might be suggested that we do 
constantly dream during sleep, and that this is a normal process, 
the abnormal factor being its remembrance. Thus we should dream, 
but we should not (normally) remember these dreams. The 
abnormal event would be the remembrance — and this might be 
due to some sort of hyper-penetrability of the " psychical dia- 
phragm," as Mr. Myers put it ; the screen that usually exists, as a 
wall, between the conscious and sub-conscious lives. The ab- 
normal penetrability of this is the diseased state or condition to 
be rectified. 

The ne^rt chapter deals with the association of dreams with 
ideas of immortality, and how the belief of a future life might 
have originated in their study. The chapter contains much of 
interest; but this, as well as the next chapter, must be passed 
over, as containing more; of value to the anthropologist than to 
the psychologist or the psychical researcher. I accordingly pass 
on to consider Chapter IV, which is the real kernel of the book. 

The author, Mr. Hutchinson, had found, some years before, 
that certain dreams had a tendency to occur far more frequently 
than others ; and, further, that almost every person who dreams at 
all had experienced certain types of dreams at one time or another 
in his life, and he conceived the idea of collecting a large number 
of cases of just such dreams, with the object of finding out, if 
possible, their general form, their causes, variations, and general 
effects: — in short to make a careful study of these particular 

The dreams that were found to occur most frequently, and 
which were most carefully studied were the following: — 

1. The falling dream. 

2. The flying dream. 

3. The dream of inadequate clothing. 

4. The dream of not being able to get away from some beast, 
or injurious person or thing, that is pursuing you. 

5. The dream of being drawn irresistibly to some dangerous 

6. The dream that some darling wish has been gratified. 

7. The dream of being about to go on a journey, and being 
unable to get your things into your trunks, etc. 

As the author argues, since these dreams are so frequent, 
there must be some uniformity of physical or mental conditions 
that would produce these dreams in all persons alike : 1. e., there 
must be some law at work. To find out what that law is, is the 
object of the author, and it must be acknowledged that if he has 
solved the problem, he has added much to our knowledge of 

Book Reviews. 177 

dreams and dream states, from any point of view, and that the 
inquiry is at least important, and interesting. 

Let us now consider some few of the cases that were sent the 
author, before attempting to consider their explanation or psy- 
chological significance. Take first the " falling dreams." It is 
commonly supposed, at least it has frequently been said, that, 
though many persons have dreamed that they were falling, none 
have ever dreamed that they arrived at the bottom of the fall — for 
" if they did, they would die.*' This would seem to bear out the 
Irishman's remark that "it was not the fall that hurt him, but 
the sudden stop at the bottom." However, there appears to be 
as little foundation for this current opinion as there is in the 
majority of such beUefs, for Mr. Hutchinson collected accounts 
of several cases in which the dreamer had reached the bottom of 
the fall, and even dreamed that he was smashed into little bits as 
the result, — but yet lived to tell the tale ! This is very instruc- 
tive. The ego, which in this case appears to have a kind of 
onlooker, " picked up the pieces and glued them together again." 
(p. ii8.) 

Many interesting cases of flying dreams are given — these 
dreams being, for the most part, cases in which the dreamer 
thinks he is skimming along the ground in a horizontal position, 
with or without a swimming movement of the arms. To some, 
this sensation is like swimming, to some like skating, to some 
like gliding, to others like flying (proper), and in other cases it 
more nearly resembles the falling dream. In some cases the 
sensation is pleasant, in others distinctly unpleasant. But it 
would be impossible for me to give instances of all the dreams 
here, since that would take a book as big as the original. I can 
only refer my readers to the book itself, assuring them that there 
is sufficient of interest in the book to warrant its perusal. 

What are the causes of such dreams, which occur so fre- 
quently and to so great a diversity of people ? It may be stated 
at once that the author did not succeed in tracing the causes of 
these dreams in most instances or in showing clearly the psycho- 
logical laws that govern them. This was due partly to lack of 
the requisite material, and partly to the fact that not enough is 
yet known about dreams, their causes and psychological laws, to 
enable any such generaHzed explanation being made. What the 
author has done, therefore, is to collect the dreams, classify them, 
and then to offer a number of possible explanations, — some orig- 
inal, some gathered from other sources, and leave the reader to 
form his own conclusions in the matter. After all, perhaps this 
is the wisest course. Thus the book is disappointing in one 
sense, as showing us how little is really known about dreams and 
dream states, but very useful in another, for the reason that it 
clears away many of the prevailing erroneous beliefs connected 

178 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 

with the subject, and anything that does this is to be commended. 

Having said so much it but remains lor me to summarize the 
theories that have been advanced by way of explanation of the 
various dreams — though it cannot be hoped that this portion of 
the subject will contain anything new or of great interest to the 
psychologist. To the average reader, however, some of the the- 
ories may be of interest, since theories of dreams are not so well 
known as they should be — I mean even normal dreams. 

Take, then, the " falling dreams." These may be due to a 
number of causes. The common explanation is " indigestion "— 
this producing pressing on the heart and consequent sending of 
blood to the brain in a jerk. But is this really any explanation 
at all ? Why should this give us the sensation of falling from a 
great height — since we none of us know what that sensation is? 
It can readily be imagined that this would have the eflFect of wak- 
ing the dreamer with a start, but why should it arouse the idea of 
falling? The explanation evidently does not explain. Can it be 
that we merely itnagine ourselves falling (or flying as the case 
may be) ? If it be contended that this is the explanation, how 
can we imagine a thing or a sensation we have never experienced, 
since we cannot possibly tell what it would be like ? It may be 
pointed out, parenthetically, that these dreams completely dis- 
prove the assertion so frequently made that we cannot possibly 
dream about any thing or sensation which we have not experi- 
enced in our waking lives. As we have not fallen from great 
heights or flown, while awake, how are the dreams to be ac- 
counted for? One ingenious correspondent suggests that this 
sensation is a relic of our prehistoric days, and represents ex- 
periences and memories carried over from our " monkeyhood " 
state ! I shall not do more than refer to the suggestion. The 
author rather inclines to the belief that the eyes or optic nerves 
play a great part in the explanation of such dreams. They are 
supposed to give us the sensation of things moving upward past 
us, and this would indirectly suggest the fact that we were fall- 
ing. The author contends that these sensations are frequently 
experienced in waking life, and might be the basis of our dreams 
of falling, when asleep. For reasons it would take too long to 
specify here I can only say that this explanation does not appear 
to me to cover all the facts, or to explain many of the dreams in 
any complete manner. 

The most rational explanation of such dreams is probably the 
following: By lying too long in one position, the blood suppjy 
on the lower surface of the body is cut off, producing a certain 
peripheral anaemia, with loss of sensation in these parts. This 
loss of sensation would be coupled with the feeling that there 
was no support beneath the body, and hence the idea that the 
body was falling. through space. The imagination of the dreamer 

Book Reznews. 179 

would supply the rest of the dream data, so long as the primary 
sensation is aroused. 

But I cannot now stop to consider the causes of all dreams 
in this detailed manner ; space forbids. * " Dreams of flying " have 
been discussed in the Journal of the English S. P. R. (Vol. I, pp. 
229, 356: Vol. IX., p. 95) ; in Phantasms of the Living, Human Per- 
sonality and elsewhere ; and our author adds nothing to the the- 
ories there advanced. Those of my readers who desire fuller 
information as to the psychology of dreams should consult the 
chapter on " Sleep," and other passages, in Myers' Human Per- 
sonality; the chapter on " Dreams " in Hyslop's Enigmas of Psy- 
chical Research^ etc. It is certain that very little is known about 
dreams — ^their causes and phenomena — and the present book 
makes that fact obvious. If it has done no other service, there- 
fore, it will at least have drawn our attention to, and stimulated 
our interest in, these most bewildering phenomena. It is to be 
hoped that such books as the one under review will, in time, en- 
able us to understand the laws governing dreams and dream 
states, — ^for the subject is surely important no less than interest- 
ing from any point of view whatsoever. 


180 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 


Arkell, Mrs. James, Canajoharie, N. J. 

Barrett, Prof. W. F., 6 De Vesci Terrace, Kingston, County Dub- 
lin, Ireland. (Honoraiy Fellow.) 
Quinby, John W., Box 68, East Bridgewater, Mass. 


Anderson, O. W., 512 Masonic Temple, Minneapolis, Minn. 

American Journal of Psychology, Clark University, Worcester, 

Annals of Psychic Science, no St. Martin's Lane, London, W. 
C, England. 

Annales Des Sciences Psychiques, 6 Aue Saulnier, Paris, France. 

Banner of Light, 17 Fayette Street, Cambridge, Mass. 

Dorr, G. B., 18 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, Mass. 

Harbenger of Light, Melbourne, Australia. 

Higbee, C. G., The Murray Iron Works Co., Burlington, Iowa. 

Hopkins, Mrs. Dunlap, 31 East 30th St., N. Y. City. 

International Journal of Ethics, 1415 Locust Street, Philadel- 
phia, Pa. 

Journal of Abnormal Psychology, Old Corner Bookstore, 27-29 
Bromfield Street, Boston, Mass. 

Journal of Pathology, 28 West 126th St., N. Y. City. 

Journal of Philosophy & Psychology & Scientific Methods, Sub- 
Station 84, N. Y. City. 

L' Heureux, L., Reserve, La. 

Light, no St. Martin's Lane, London, England. 

Literary Digest, 44-60 East 23rd Street, N. Y. City. 

Means, Miss Evelyn B., 104 Woodfin St., Ashville, N. C. 

Rice, Mrs. Ellen E., Care L. W. Oakes, Bradford, Pa. 

Satterlee, F. L. Roy, M. D., Ph. D., 6 West 56th St., N. Y. City. 

Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D. C. 

Society for Psychical Research, 20 Hanover Square, London, W., 

Occult Review, 164 Aldersgate St., London, E. C, England. 


Bailey, Caroline F, 126 Turin Street, Rome, N. Y. 
Ballard, Mrs. Gayton, 51 Jefferson Ave., Brooklyn, N. Y. 
Barker, Mrs. Clarence F., 3942 Ellis Ave., Chicago, 111. 
Bebee, George M., EUenville, Ulster Co., N. Y. 
Bennett, S. B., Box 16, Pittston, Pa. 

Additional Members. 181 

Berryhill, Virginia J., iioi Pleasant Street, Des Moines, Iowa. 

liozzano, Ernesto, Salita Emanuele Cavallo, N. 92, Genoa, Italy. 

Carter, Dr. C. C, 302 East Long St., Columbus, Ohio. Free 

Centeno, Mrs., 25 Hyde Park Gate, London, S. W. England. 

Cole, E. C, 4730 Greenwood Ave., Chicago, 111. 

Corbin, G. C, 176 So. Main St., Danville, Va. 

Cox, J. Cromwell, 281 Lanier Ave., East, Ottawa, Canada. 

Crowell, Mrs. J. Hedges, 1044 Fifth Ave., N. Y. City. 

Cushing, Miss Eleanor P., 76 Elm Ave., Northampton, Mass. 

Densmore, Emmet, M. D., Hotel Astor, N. Y. City. 

DillhofF, Mrs. Amy C, 823 Jefferson Ave., Brooklyn, N. Y. 

Drake, Mrs. A. J., Aubumdale, Mass. 

Friendlich, F., 239 West 141st St., N. Y. City. 

Gale, Edward Courtland, 59 First Street, Troy, N. Y. 

Gittermann, Rud. C, Odessa, South Russia. 

Griffin, Mrs. Josephine, Mounts Crossing, Lakewood, N. J. 

Hastings, Thomas J., i Wauchusett St., Worcester, Mass. 

Hild, Madame Amelie, 401 Charles Block, Denver, Col. 

Hoegelsberger, Mrs. Nora, 1305 Q St., Washington, D. C. 

Keyser, Miss Annie T., 58 Jay Street, Albany, N. Y. 

Krebs, G. W. C, Perryville, Md. 

Librarian, City Library Association, Springffield, Mass. 

Lutz, R. R,. San Juan, Porto Rico. 

McCain, George Nox, 4008 Pine Street, Philadelphia, Pa. 

McStreet, Ida, 308 Ogden Ave., Milwaukee, Wis. 

Madocks, Maj. H. J., Sydney, N. S. Canada. 

Magazine of Mysteries, 22 William St., N. Y. City. 

Marks, Arthur H., 45 Arch St., Akron, Ohio. 

Medico-Legal Journal, 39 Broadway, N. Y. City. 

Mitchell, William, 602 W. 146th St., N. Y. City. 

Palmer, E. C, Charlotte, Mich. 

Perry, Mrs. Edward B., 2278 Kenmore Ave., Chicago, 111. 

Poage, John N., College Hill, Cincinnati, Ohio. 

Posthumus-Meyjes, Mme. R., 25 Laan Copes, The Hague, Hol- 

Rockwell Dr. A. E. R., Worcester, Mass. 

Schmid, H. E., M. D., White Plains, N. Y. 

Simonds, Mrs. F. M., Westover, Colden Ave., Flushing, L. L. 
N. Y. 

Thompson, E. O., 10 Winthrop Street, Watertown, N. Y. 

Van Leer, Mary T., East Downingtown, Chester Co., Pa. 

Weber, Mrs. Nita B., 806 F. Beach, Bilox, Miss. 

Weeks, R. W., Tarrytown, N. Y. 

Woodward, Fred E., Box 832, Washington, D. C. 

YoL L-No. 4. 

April, 1907. 



American Society for Psychical Research 



Coodnfllan of Experiments Relative to 
Dr. HodffBon and Theories - • - 183 

Bditoriaz. : paob 

Exposure of Hugh Bfloore 229 

Nature of the Problem of Psychic Rfr> 

search ZI9 

The Sea-Serpent's Vindication - - Z32 

TXBASURBK*S Rbport ----- 235 


By James Hervey Hyslop. 

I have hitherto presented matter which may be supposed 
to have claims for evidential character, that is, something 
supernormal whatever the theory intended for their explan- 
ation. It may be interesting to take up some of the noii- 
evidential matter in illustration of features which we have to 
ignore when dealing with scientific scepticism and which yet 
represent important psychological material in the record. 

The reader must remember two things in sucK a record 
as that of Mrs. Piper, (i.) There is much material that no 
scientific man would suspect to have a spiritistic source on 
its superficial appearance. (2) The communications also 
exhibit usually a certain kind of confusion and fragmentary 
nature that perplexes scientific men and the public generally. 
In dealing with the supernormal phenomena we have often 
to ignore these facts and this may as often give a false im- 
pression of the real character of the communications for 
which we are asking credence as coming from a transcend- 
ental world. It is, therefore, only fair to all persons and im- 
portant to science that we should understand what the mat- 
ter is upon which no stress can be laid in the argument for 
the supernormal. The facts which impress us as evidence 

184 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

of the transcendental are scattered about in a matrix of 
alleged communications which we cannot treat evidentially 
as such at all. But, altho many communications are of such 
a type as not to be conclusive evidence of the supernormal, 
there are many which are confirmatory and have g^eat value 
as illustrating what we should most naturally expect on some 
hypothesis of their explanation. For this reason they will 
have an interest scarcely less important to science than the 
actually evidential incidents. I shall, therefore, devote some 
space to a brief account of some of these data in the records 
just quoted. I shall only repeat to the reader that I am not 
quoting this matter in any respect as evidence of either spirits 
or the supernormal. If we have any reasons for believing it 
to have the same source as the actually supernormal facts 
this conviction must have other grounds than their superficial 
claims. After the evidential demands of the supernormal 
have been satisfied, the unity of all the phenomena with this 
conclusion may be sufficient to make a respectable claim for 
that source in the non-evidential statements, but I shall not 
urge this view of the communications which I expect to 
quote now. Readers may entertain whatever view they 
please. I shall insist only that the statements are a part of 
the record making a claim for the existence of spirits. 

One of the first things that the trance personalities wished 
to do at the sittings referred to was to talk to me about my 
plans. They assumed the role of superior guides and ad- 
visors and undertook to smooth down my temper which had 
been considerably ruffled by the ruthless disregarding of 
plans which had been formulating for several years to put 
the work upon a better basis than it had ever been. There 
can be no question of the patience and tact with which these 
personalities handled the matter, tho I do not know how 
much it had been discussed by other sitters prior to my ex- 
periments. It is probable that the whole mass of advice is 
attributable to the suggestions of other sitters. But I am 
less concerned with this or any other explanation than with 
the bare fact of psychological fitness and reality about it. I 
will say, however, that only one or two persons knew my 
^tate of mind and one of these was far distant from Boston. 

Conclusion of Experiments Relative to Dr. Hodgson. 185 

It was therefore interesting to sec how clearly the trance 
personalities knew my mental condition. They wanted to 
know what I was worrying about, and the answer on my part 
to this query led to a thorough threshing out of the matter 
in a perfectly intelligible manner representing all the play of 
reality not less interesting to the psychologist than the phe- 
nomena having better claims to a supernormal source. 

When Dr. Hodgson took his turn to communicate, I 
badgered him a little for going before I did when he had ex- 
pected to have the pleasure of hearing from me first. I had 
broken down in health some years before and did not expect 
to recover. After a little chivalry on his part, as if aware of 
the mood in which I was at the time, namely, that of a reso- 
lution to abandon the work forever, he said : " Stick to it, 
Hyslop. I hope you will not give up the ghost." He then 
broke out with the statement : " I shall not stop to talk 
rubbish, but let us get down to facts," thus characteristically 
recognizing that it was evidence, not mere communication 
which we wanted. At once, therefore, he asked me if I re- 
membered the difficulties which we had in reference to my 
Report, the fact being that we had many long discussions 
about it. I asked him presently if he remembered the word 
which he said he would have expected me to communicate in 
proof of identity. It was a word that I had used oftener 
than he liked, tho he admitted that it described exactly what 
the facts needed. He had said he would never believe it 
was I if I did not communicate that word. It was quite to 
the point, therefore, when his reply was: " I do not at the 
moment, but I will recall and repeat it for you. I remember 
how we joked about it.^' In fact, we had joked about it con- 
siderably. I have never mentioned the circumstance or the 
word to any other living person, and I shall not mention the 
word to any one. In reply I told him to take his time and 
then came the following: — 

" Surely I am not going to make a botch of anything if I 
can help it. It is so suffocating here. I can appreciate their 
difficulties better than ever before. Get my card? " alluding 
in the question to the fact that he had prepared his usual 
Christmas cards for his friends, but they were not sent out 

186 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 

until after his death. The mention of the difficulties in com- 
munication was quite characteristic, as representing the 
problem which we had often discussed together and which 
we wished to have presented more thoroughly before the 

After some further references to experiments which we 
had wished to carry out while living he interrupted the com- 
munications with an allusion to an unverifiable experience af- 
ter death. He said : " It is delightful to go up through the 
cool ethereal atmosphere into this life and shake off the mor- 
tal body." He had himself believed that the spiritual world 
was ethereal and we have in this passage one of the many 
interpolations of communicators which represent possibili- 
ties but not evidence of what these phenomena purport to be. 

I come now to a passage which shows a number of inter- 
esting and important characteristics. The one to which I 
wish to call special attention is the abrupt change of subject 
that so often occurs in these phenomena. It is one that 
serves more or less as evidence of the theory that the mental 
condition necessary for communication, at least in the " pos- 
session " type of mediumship, is like a delirious dream or a 
wandering and dreaming secondary personality. Besides 
this abrupt change of topic the reader will notice also inter- 
polations of various sorts which indicate the same conception 
of the process. A more important observation, however, to 
be made is one that no reader will realize who did not know 
Dr. Hodgson personally and intimately. It is the expression 
of thoughts which he would not have expressed while living 
in the way they are done here. There is an emotional color 
in the communications at times that would have been in- 
hibited in his natural conversation. The presence of this in 
them points to the existence of a trance condition on the 
" other side " as necessary for communication with this. I 
do not say that it proves this, but that it consists with the 
hypothesis made on other grounds, tho it does not explain all 
the perplexities which accompany phenomena of this kind. 
The passage which I wish to quote began with a more or less 
evidential reference to an incident connected with my brother 
in my Report published in 1901. My brother had taken seri- 

Conclusion of Experiments Relative to Dr. Hodgson. 187 

ous objection to what I had said there and hence I put on 
record with Dr. Hodgson the facts confirmed by the testi- 
mony of three other persons as a check against any possible 
criticism of them. Let me note also for the reader that I 
never " told " him about it, but I wrote out the facts and de- 
posited the documents with him by mail. This feature of 
the communications is one of those mistakes which are so 
common and so natural to a dream like mental state that the 
form of the messages when evidential at all makes them espe- 
cially cogent against the unscientific objection of telepathy 
in the case. To come then to the passage. 

" Do you remember telling me about some objections 
your brother made because these good friends told about 

(Yes, I remember that well indeed.) 

I cannot forget anything if you give me time to recall. 
You must have great patience with me as I am not what I 
hope to be later. 

(All right, Hodgson. Do you find that we conjectured 
the difficulties fairly well?) 

We did surprisingly well. I was surprised enough. Is 
my writing more difficult than it used to be ? 

(It is about the same.) 

Do you remember anything about it? 

(Yes, I do.) 

I remember your comments about it, and much was left 
me to explain. 

(Yes, that is true.) 

Of course it's true. Think I am less intelligent because 
I am in the witness box ? 

(No, I understand the difficulties.) 

I hope you do, but this is the happiest moment of coming 
over here. I mean in meeting you again. 

(All right, Hodgson. I feel that it would have been bet- 
ter for you to lead on this side.) 

Perhaps, but I am satisfied. Do you remember how I 
said to you I sometimes longed to get over here. 

(Yes, I expect that was true and I have heard persons 
say you said it.) 

188 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 

■ i did often. I longed to see this beautiful country if I 
may so express it.'* Then followed the incident of our meet- 
ing in New York mentioned above. 

Now the reader should know that Dr. Hodgson never 
once expressed to me the desire to pass to the other side. 
But as my statement implies I have heard others say that he 
had this wish. It was an intense wish of Frederic W. H. 
Myers, and from the privations which Dr. Hodgson had to 
suffer in his work I can well imagine that he may often have 
wished to be where " the wicked ceased from troubling and 
the weary are at rest." But in asking me if I remembered 
his saying it, his memory lapsed, as would be natural in the 
" suffocating " condition of which complaint is made by more 
than one communicator. 

The reader will remark that he admits the hypothesis 
which we had applied to the communicator's condition while 
communicating. Then he suddenly changes to the question 
of his own handwriting which has some relation to the point 
br issue which I had raised about the difficulties of commu- 
nicating. But the form of his question points to a recollec- 
tion, which, tho explicable by Mrs. Piper's knowledge of the 
same, suggests on any theory a wandering consciousness. 
His handwriting was a very difficult one for me to read and 
others of his friends recognized that it was very scrawUy. 
The allusion to my comments on it is perfectly true. As we 
wrote to each other on important matters, and as I could not 
read his writing at times I had on several occasions to re- 
turn his letters and ask for his interpretation of his own 
writing, and I indulged in some humorous observations 
about it referring to what a time I would have with it when 
he came to be a communicator, if our hypothesis about the 
difficulties of communication were true. Then as if under 
the excitement of recognition be becomes perfectly clear and 
eaks out into a natural tone of banter for supposing that 
^at he says may not be true, tho the very clearness of his 

Uigence at the time indicates a marginal conviction that 
\ not always so in the attempt to communicate. Then 
lucid moment runs into an emotional outburst about his 

|}jness at meeting me, a mood which might be natural 

Conclusion of Experiments Relative to Dr. Hodgson. 189 

enough for the time and place and perhaps reflecting in the 
message the impossibility of hindering the passage of mental 
states from beyond into the automatic consciousness or sub- 
consciousness of Mrs. Piper^ but certainly also indicating 
what his friends would recognize as an interest which he 
would not express in words while living. 

At the next sitting when he turned up to communicate he 
began to reproach me for losing my grit in this work, as it 
was known in some way that I meant to abandon it unless 
some reasonable spirit of co-operation was shown by those 
managing affairs. In the process of our interview on this 
matter he became greatly excited and confused and the hand 
wrote so heavily and rapidly that it tore the paper and when 
we managed to have it calm down the following came and 
was most likely the interpolation of the control or trance per- 

" In leaving the body the shock to the spirit knocks every- 
thing out of one's thoughts for awhile, but if he has any de- 
sire at all to prove his identity he can in time collect enough 
evidence to prove his identity convincingly/' Then Dr. 
Hodgson began with his reference to our experiment with 
the voice case. (See above p. lOO.) 

In connection with this passage explaining the effect of 
death, a view quite consistent with what we know of physical 
shocks to the living consciousness, it might be well to quote 
what the trance personality said to me at a sitting nearly a 
month later. To try a question which was designed to test 
the possibility of our getting marginal thoughts of the com- 
municator instead of the main ones intended, I asked at this 
later sitting if some of the thoughts came through that he 
did not intend to send. The answer and colloquy was as 
follows : 

"At times they do and then again his thoughts are some- 
what changed. They are not exactly what they were when 
in the body. 

(Very good, I understand.) 

The change called Death which is really only transition is 
very different from what one thinks before he experiences 
ft. That in part explains why Myers never took a more 

190 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

active part after he came over here. He had much on his 
mind before he came which he vowed he would give after he 
came over, but the shock [was such] that many of his de- 
terminations were scattered from his living memory. This 
is a petty excuse but a living reality — a fact. It is unmis- 
takably so with every one who crosses the border line. 

(Yes, I can understand how this would take place from 
similar shocks among the living.) 

Amen. Well then we need give no further explanations 
on this point if it is understood by you. However when ex- 
pecting the best results the poorest may be given, unless 
this is fully understood by those living in the mortal life. It 
is only by simple recollections that real proof of identity can 
be given." 

If I could take any special incident and compare it with 
the exact facts as known to the living there would be much 
in them to confirm such an explanation of the difficulty and 
confusion connected with the process of communication, as- 
suming the spiritistic hypothesis to be a legitimate one. The 
explanation here given by the trance personality is certainly 
plausible tho we have no direct means of verifying it. But 
when we find from internal evidence of the supernormal in- 
cidents that confusion of some kind is present we may well 
entertain the possibility of a semi-trance on the other side, 
as a means of studying the phenomena as a whole, and 
hence I quote the above passages as a sample of statement 
which must engage the attention and respect of the psycholo- 
gist, if for no other purpose than to show its tenability in 
case that can be done. 

A passage from Dr. Hodgson points in the same direc- 
tion as that which I have quoted from the trance personali- 
ties. He says: — 

" It is I find most difficult to use the mechanism and reg- 
ister clearly one's recollections. I have much sympathy for 
George whom we badgered to death, poor fellow. He gave 
me all I had to hope for in spite of my treatment of him. 
Now just keep your patience with me and you will have all 
you could ask for. Understand ? " 

" George " refers to the man whom Dr. Hodgson called 

Conclusion of Experiments Relative to Dr. Hodgson. 191 

" George Pelham " in his Report on the Piper case and who 
was instrumental after his death in proving to Dr. Hodgson 
the truth of the spiritistic hypothesis. " George " was his 
Christian name, but " Pelham " was not his surname. It 
was after Dr. Hodgson tried the hypothesis of a dream like 
state as necessary to communicate that he began to under- 
stand the difficulties in the theory. He then came to the 
conclusion that the best course to take in the experiments 
was to let the communicator have his own way and not to 
" badger him to death." He often remarked to me that we 
could not get what we wanted if we kept nagging at the 
communicator. Here is the repetition of this conception at 
a moment which the detailed record shows to have been one 
of confusion and excitement. 

As further illustration of the rapid movement of the mem- 
ory from incident to incident, occasioned possibly partly by 
the uninhibited process of thinking on the other side and by 
the slow mechanical process of the writing compared with 
this rapid thought in their world, we may continue the 
passage which I have just quoted. When he asked me to 
have patience with him and I would get all I could ask for, 
I went on : — 

" (Yes, I am quite willing to let you have fully your own 

I shall take it in spite of you. I am determined to do 
what I think best. Do you remember the tussle I had with 
you about getting that book in order? 

(Yes, we had many tussles.) 

Indeed we did. I am wondering if you recall some lines 
I wrote you once a year or two before I came when you were 
in the mountains for your health ? 

(I do not now recall them, but it is likely that I can find 
out because I have absolutely all your letters. Can you men- 
tion a few words of the lines?) 

You remember the lines I used to quote often, running 
like this : ' patience is a blessing/ and your answer, and the 
subject of the rest. You were pleased and replied they were 
apropos of your condition." 

Now just as I had said I had kept absolutely every line 

192 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

Dr. Hodgson ever wrote me from the time I arranged for my 
sittings with Mrs. Piper in 1898 until his death at the end of 
1905. There was therefore a fine chance to verify what 
was said here. Consequently I examined every letter writ- 
ten me after I broke down in June in 1901 until I left the 
mountains in April, 1902, and not a trace of any such lines 
appear in the correspondence. In fact not a word of counsel, 
consolation and spiritual reflection occurs in it. Nor do I 
recall any mental attitude of the kind in any other part of 
the correspondence. Dr. Hodgson's habit of indulging in 
sentiment of this kind, so far as I knew him, was in his 
Christmas cards which he regularly sent out to his friends 
each year at the holidays. We have then a promise to prove 
his identity as George Pelham had done, and in fulfillment of 
it an incident that is wholly false in relation to me, tho pos- 
sibly true in relation to some one else, as in the instance of 
the " nigger talk " first referred to Myers and then corrected 
to Prof. James (p. 97). We can well understand why the 
trance personality should indicate the shock which death 
may occasion to the memory in the attempt to come back 
and communicate. The incident here quoted has the same 
characteristics which a delirium would have reproducing a 
mosaic of one^s past experiences, telling enough to show 
that the facts are at least partly correct, as in the allusion to 
my being in the mountains for my health — a fact most prob- 
ably known to Mrs. Piper — and another which represented 
a probable trait in his character but not exhibited toward me 
in the manner stated. I have myself witnessed just such 
phenomena in the deliria of the living. 

Another passage has a striking interest as showing an 
appreciation of the problem. I have said previously that he 
was always on the alert for the type of fact that could not be 
explainel by telepathy and that the message with reference 
to Prof. Newbold (p. 105) was not explicable by that hypoth- 
esis as applied to my mind. At my last sitting after I had 
ascertained from Prof. Newbold that the allusion was cor- 
rect, I had also had some correspondence with a Dr. B -, 

who had had a sitting and to whom Dr. Hodgson had made 
a similar statement with other incidents of what had hap- 

Conclusion of Experiments Relative to Dr. Hodgson. 193 

pened in the conversation between Dr. Hodgson and Prof. 
Newbold on the ocean beach. At this last sitting Dr. Hodg- 
son brought up the subject spontaneously and soon showed 
what relation it had to the telepathic hypothesis by the way 
he spoke of it, as the reader will perceive in my quotation. 

" Did Dr. B. prove my message ? 

(Dr. B found that your message to Billy about some 

conversation that you and he had the last time you saw him 
was exactly correct and he was delighted with it.) 

Amen. (Yes Hodgson, and you told me the same thing 

twice.) What thing? Before I came over? Do you 

[remember it?] 

(Yes, Hodgson.) Oh yes, I remember it well. (Good.) 

There is no telepathy in this except as it comes from my 
mind to yours. 

(Good. Then telepathy is at least a part of the process 
by which you communicate with me.) 

Most assuredly it is and I had a vague idea before I came 

(Yes, you did.) 

You remember our talks about the telepathic theory of 
our friends' thoughts reaching us from this side telepath- 

We did have several conversations on this point and the 
reader may interpret for himself the psychological interest 
and importance of the allusion to telepathy in this connec- 
tion, especially when it is related to an incident not known 
to myself at the time it was first alluded to (p. 105). 

As I have already remarked I cannot produce this as 
proof of the existence of spirits, tho I think many readers 
will think it of the type of evidence that would constitute 
good proof if it were not complicated with the personal ac- 
quaintance of the communicator with the medium before 
his death. I have been careful to quote the incidents which 
certainly border on the evidential while they as certainly 
appear characteristic of the alleged communicator with such 
modifications as might naturally occur both from the un- 
natural conditions under which the communications must be 
made and from the amnesic and disturbed mental state of 

— ~ ' rsirn:. 



Conclusion of Experiments Relative to Dr. Hodgson. 195 

how it can account for the psychological peculiarities of the 
phenomena imitative of deliria and dream-like states on the 
other side and yet press this limitation against the only the- 
ory that can give a rational explanation of them. If the ad- 
vocate of telepathy really knew anything about that process 
or hypothesis at all he would be ashamed to urge it with so 
much confidence. He would find a most imperative duty to 
investigate it more carefully to see if, in the real or alleged 
communications between the living there were traces of im- 
perfect memories and delirious mental states on the part of 
agents. I shall not deny the possibility of this, but until it 
is shown to be a scientific fact, which the present record of 
alleged telepathic phenomena does not suggest, we are not 
privileged scientifically to urge such a process in explanation 
of the record under discussion. The spiritistic theory may 
not be the right one. With that I am not at present con- 
cerned. But it is entitled to such possibilities as commend 
it against the inferior claims of other hypotheses. That 
is all that I am urging for the moment. Hence it is, I think, 
that the really scientific man prefers the simple theory of fraud 
as the more difficult one of the three to displace. Secondary 
personality he sees does not account for the supernormal 
part of the phenomena, however it might appear to account 
for the non-evidential matter. It would be a curious theory 
which limited the explanatory functions of its process to 
what was relevant to spirits and wholly exclude this from 
matter which, tho not evidential, is characteristic of the con- 
jectured source supposed in this case. Hence I think we 
may present, at least provisionally, the hypothesis of dis- 
carnate agency while we press for an investigation equally 
thorough with that of the past, and perhaps even more pro- 
longed and extended in order to understand the limitations 
of the communications. 

I have here merely hinted at the explanations of the con- 
fusion and limitations of the incidents purporting to be mes- 
sages from a spirit world. I have been trying to confine 
the subject and the evidence to what purports to come from 
Dr. Richard Hodgson, but the issue at this point is so im- 
portant and the misunderstanding so great that I think it 

1% Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

proper in this last article to diverge somewhat from the mate- 
rial affecting the personality of Dr. Hodgson and to discuss 
what is apparently the most important difficulty in the prob- 
lem and in doing so to introduce general evidence from other 
communicators and other psychics. 

I shall begin this part of the discussion by an allusion to 
the difficulty which it seems both laymen and scientific men 
encounter when asked to believe that we are communicating 
with spirits. This dUficulty, which is usually stated as an objec- 
tion, is due to the triviality and confusion of the cofnmunications. 
It occasionally takes the form of complaint that we have 
nothing to show regarding the conditions of life in a spiritual 
world. I wish to take up these matters and to deal with 
them as thoroughly as limited space will permit. 

I think I may best take as illustrative of this difficulty 
some remarks of the editor of an intelligent newspaper 
which were published in reference to my article in the Feb- 
ruary Journal. They put into definite shape a number of 
points such as I constantly meet when discussing the ques- 
tion, and as the editorial treatment of the matter, tho critical 
and sceptical, was entirely friendly to the investigation, it 
may conduce to a better understanding of the whole problem 
to make it the subject of a careful and friendly reply. 

After alluding to some statements of my own explana- 
tory of what is necessary in proof of personal identity, which 
is the primary issue for the scientific man, namely, trivial in- 
cidents of a past earthly life that are verifiable, the editor of 
the Providence Journal went on with the following re- 
marks : — 

" It is perhaps best to judge the evidence present by Pro- 
fessor Hyslop upon this ground, altho to many persons it will 
seem that this is fundamentally an error. To such persons the 
obvious possibility of the absorption of such ' trivial incidents ' 
by telepathic communication with the * spirit ' before his or her 
departure from the flesh, however impossible might be any the- 
ory of acquaintance with the facts by the ordinary means of in- 
tercourse, will serve as a serious if not a definite deterrent to 
the acceptation of the relation as a proof of anything. But even 
lasting aside this basic objection and admitting the conception 
:>t Professor Hyslop to be correct, it is still impossible to see 

Conclusion of Experiments Relative Jo Z>r- Hodgson. 197 

wherein this narrative of experiments — ^interesting as it is— estab- 
lishes the slightest link in the chain, which, in all sincerity, the 
investigators headed by him are endeavoring to forge. Every- 
portion of it relates solely, in a more or less confused manner, to 
the interests of Dr. Hodgson on earth. There is not the faintest 
indication of ' supernormal information.' It must be said frankly 
that neither in quantity nor quality does the information pre- 
sented lead even to the suggestion of a ' spiritistic theory.' If 
spirits, who in life possessed the intelligence of Dr. Hodgson, talk 
such muddle-headed nonsense the moment they discard the flesh, 
then Heaven help the foolish ones of this earth." 

I shall first discuss the entire misunderstanding of the 
problem which this writer exhibits; a misunderstanding, 
however, which is shared by many others. 

In the first place the telepathy which this writer assumes 
and refers to " absorption " by the living of the thoughts of 
others has absolutely no scientific evidence whatever for its 
existence. You cannot quote the facts purporting to be 
from spirits in proof of it, because they bear so definitely on 
the personal identity of deceased persons. You will have to 
get evidence not so related and there is absolutely none such 
of a scientific character. The thing you have to explain, is 
not the remarkable nature of the facts, but their uniform 
relation to deceased persons. Telepathy which can acquire 
incidents about dead people but cannot acquire any about 
the living is a curious capacity and perilously near being 
devilish. It may be so, of course, but face that issue when 
you propose the assumption. Apropos of this I may ask 
also how you are going to account for the trivialities and 
confusion on such* a remarkable faculty? A power infinite 
in everything but access to important facts is a worse 
anomaly in human knowledge than spirits can possibly be. 
In fact you cannot rationally account for the limitation to 
triviality at all on the telepathic hypothesis, while this is per- 
fectly simple on the spiritistic. 

But no scientific man believes in the kind of telepathy 
here supposed. He will only ask for independent evidence 
that it is a fact before using it as a substitute for a spiritistic 
interpretation of facts related only to the personal identity of 
deceased persons. We shall simply throw upon the adher- 

198 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

ent of it the responsibility for the evidence of his assump- 
tion and if that is forthcoming we shall consider it dispas- 

In the second place, the writer's conception of the " su- 
pernormal " is wholly different from that of the scientific 
man and he strangely demands as proof of a future life com- 
munications which are absolutely unverifiable in the present 
stage of the inquiry. He complains that the evidence is con- 
fined solely to Dr. Hodgson's earthly life. This is precisely 
where the cogency of the facts and argument lies. We could 
not at present verify scientifically any statement whatever 
about the conditions in a trenscendental world. " Super- 
normal " does not mean knowledge of things in a spiritual 
world ; nor does it necessarily imply anything spiritual what- 
ever. Many confuse it with the " supernatural," but psychic 
researchers adopted it to eliminate all the associations of that 
term and to mean something not acquired in a normal way. 
It is a purely negative term, implying nothing definite about 
either the " supernatural " or anything in a transcendental 
world. In other words; " supernormal " means and only 
means beyond or transcending normal sense perception. It 
does not mean any special view of what is beyond and it does 
not in any respect imply the spiritual, even tho this happen 
to be included in it after the investigation has gone far 
enough to justify that belief. It means nothing more than 
the fact that we have gotten something which cannot be ex- 
plained as having a sensory origin, that is, an origin in normal 
sense perception. All that is verifiable must either have been 
acquired by the sense perception of the subject or must exist 
in the memory of living persons. The nature and conditions 
of a spiritual world and its life are not so verifiable, and no 
intelligent man would expect or demand, as evidence, com- 
munications of this kind in proof of a spiritual world, to say 
nothing of the impossibility of making it intelligible if com- 
munication about it were tried. 

It is the last objection which always seems the most 
cogent to the sceptic. The writer thinks that intelligent per- 
sons like Dr. Hodgson would not or ought not to talk such 
" muddle-headed nonsense." I shall confidently reply at this 

Conclusion of Experiments Relative to Dr. Hodgson. 199 

point that the best part of our evidence for the spiritistic 
hypothesis is just this nonsense. What the critic thinks is 
a fatal objection is our best proof. That is a contention 
which may surprise many an objector, but it is one that I 
advance and I am certain that it will put the sceptic to his 
wits to sustain his assumption that intelligent men would do 
much better than the evidence seems to indicate. I shall 
boldly challenge any successful defense of the writer's posi- 

Now if Dr. Hodgson was so intelligent a person how 
would the critic account for the " absorption by telepathy 
while in the flesh '' of exclusively trivial incidents ? On the 
critic's assumption we ought to have had very intelligent 
messages^ intelligent after the type of his conception. But 
instead of that we have what are alleged to be exclusively 
trivial facts. On the other hand, if the alleged communicator 
had not been an intelligent man, according to the critic's 
point of view we might explain the limitations of the mes- 
sages. But he concedes that Dr. Hodgson's earthly life was 
intelligent and admits the exclusive limitation of the incidents 
to that life. 

But I shall not dwell on dialectics of this kind as they are 
not important. What we have to realize is two or three 
fundamental things in this problem, which I shall have to 
reiterate again and again in order to have the point made in 
the spiritistic hypothesis that is here defended. 

I recur again to the conception of the supernormal. I 
said and I repeat that it denotes the acquisition of informa- 
tion by some other means than normal sense perception. 
With this view in mind I shall again define the problem which 
is before the advocate of the spiritistic theory. 

There are three fundamental conditions of a spiritistic 
hypothesis, (i) The information acquired must be super- 
normal, that is, not explicable by normal perception. (2) 
The incidents must be verifiable memories of the deceased 
persons and so representative of their personal identity. (3) 
The incidents must be trivial and specific — not easily, if at all, 
duplicated in the common experience of others. Any other 

200 Jotirnal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

kind of facts will be exposed to sceptical objections which 
may be unanswerable. 

The point of view which the psychic researcher has to 
take is that of the materialist. That is, he must assume that 
the materialistic theory has the first claim to consideration 
and that the facts must at least be inconsistent with its claims 
in order to obtain any fulcrum for the spiritistic view. Now 
the materialistic theory maintains that consciousness is a 
function of the brain and so perishable with it. This view is 
universally conceded for the various functions of the bodily 
organsim, such as digestion, circulation, secretion, etc. All 
these are admittedly organic functions and so perishable with 
the body. If consciousness is a similar function it has the 
same fate. Now since we have no evidence, apart from the 
alleged phenomena on record by psychic researchers, that 
consciousness can exist without a bodily organism, we have 
to ascertain, if possible, if the phenomena so alleged point to 
its survival. If they do, the materialistic theory cannot be 
sustained and the case is proved. Men may differ as to the 
nature of the facts, but, their supernormal character once ad- 
mitted, the issue is clearly defined and open to discussion. 
Any facts, no matter what their character and no matter what 
the logical consequences, that supply the three characteris- 
tics mentioned, supernormality, relevance to personal iden- 
tity of deceased persons, and specific triviality, will be rele- 
vant to the conclusion which the spiritist draws and must be 
entitled to fair consideration. But we cannot assume that 
alleged communications should be anything more than proof 
of identity, and we are entitled to assume that they must be 
this because it is a primary and essential condition of believ- 
ing in the existence of spirits. The messages may be insane, 
if you like, but they must be supernormal, specific and rele- 
vant to the identity of deceased persons. What we shall 
make of such a life is not our business as scientific men at 
the outset of our problem. What use it may be does not 
enter into any conception of the matter at first except that of 
intellectual snobs and aesthetes. We have to explain the 
facts and accept the consequences. We shall show the use 
of the conclusion later in the work. At present the question 

Cmichision of Experiments Relative to Dr, Hodgson, 201 

is, not whether we are beings of superior intelligence after 
death, but whether consciousness survives death at all, and 
once convinced of that we can take up the problem of the 
nature of that survival, its limitations, if any, the perplexi- 
ties attending the kind of messages, their confusion and 
triviality, and the rarity of the phenomena. But these char- 
acteristics are not objections to the hypothesis ; they are only 
additional issues li'itliin it. They are questions only after 
admitting it, not facts opposed to it. This I think can be 
made clear in the sequel. 

Now admitting that fraud has been excluded from con- 
sideration of such facts as this series of articles records I 
think every intelligent reader will admit that they conform to 
the three conditions of a spiritistic hypothesis. I shall not 
here urge that they prove it. I simply say that these three 
conditions have been satisfied. \\'e may have to satisfy 
other conditions. I leave that matter to those who do not 
start with the assumed truth or possibility of the materialistic 
theory of things. I am here testing only the theory of ma- 
terialism. I think, therefore, that the satisfaction of these 
three conditions at least throws a doubt upon materialism as 
an explanation of consciousness, and the next question is to 
account for the peculiar character of the facts which seem to 
refute that theory. 

I think every one who reflects a moment will admit that 
only trivial facts will prove personal identity, whether of the 
living or of the dead. If it be doubted the experiment has 
only to be tried, and in a large system of them some years 
ago with Columbia University students and professors I 
showed that rational men would select incidents quite as 
trivial, or even more trivial, to prove their identity over a 
telegraph wire. This circumstance, I think, removes all 
force of the alleged objection to spirit messages on the 
ground of mere triviality. 

But I am going frankly to concede that it is not the bare 
fact of triviality that gives the trouble. It is the two facts of 
(i) persistent triviality, and (2) confusion in the incidents, 
presumably suggesting a degenerated personality very differ- 
ent from the living person we knew in his best estate. This 

202 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 

is the perplexity which we have to face and which is implied 
in the article which I have quoted from the Providence 

It is here that I propose to urge the fundamental feature 
of a spiritistic theory, one that is an essential part of that 
hypothesis for certain types of mediums. I shall call them 
the " possession " type as distinguished from the subliminal 
type. The term is tentative, tho it represents a distinction 
between the phenomena which I have neither time nor space 
here to discuss, and I make it in order not to be taken as as- 
serting or supposing that the view which I shall present 
assumes a universal condition of the phenomena. But I want 
to emphasize the adjunctive hypothesis which I mean to elab- 
orate somewhat as one which explains away all the objections 
and difficulties that the sceptic has been in the habit of pre- 
senting against the spiritistic theory. Hitherto there has 
been no opportunity to present and discuss this aspect of the 
problem in a public way. The popular periodicals want sen- 
sational matter, and care little for important truths. The 
scientific journals have lived in such contempt of the whole 
subject that they would not permit the dicsussion of it, and 
so we have had to remain silent for lack of means to discuss 
this fundamental feature of the theory before intelligent 
readers. Fortunately we have now an opportunity to present 
it and to ask consideration of it. 

What I refer to is the explanation of the persistent trivial- 
ity and confusion of the communications which purport to 
come from the discarnate. I shall premise, however, that 
this accusation that the communications are always so trivial 
and confused is in fact not true. No doubt it appears so from 
the examples which we publish and discuss. On this account 
I can respect the difficulty on the part of all who have not 
made a special study of the phenomena. But the fact is that 
the communications are not always trivial as is supposed. 
There are two decided limitations to this accusation. The 
first is that the question of triviality depends wholly upon the 
point of view assumed in the problem. If the communicator 
realizes that he has his identity to prove he will necessarily 
limit himself to trivial recollections, assuming that he can 

Conclusion of Experiments Relative to Dr, Hodgson. 203 

control his state of consciousness at the time of his com- 
munications. Those who read the Piper case carefully will 
discover that the phenomena have all the appearance at least 
of being organized efforts on the " other side " to prove the 
identity of those who have passed away. The triviality thus 
becomes so important as to lose all the imputations implied 
by that term and so show a rational effort to solve the prob- 
lem, an effort adjusted to the very needs of the issue. This 
is particularly noticeable in the communications of Dr. Hodg- 
son. If the reader will simply study the facts in this series of 
articles in a careful and patient way he will find that there is 
a characteristic consciousness of this view of the matter 
which has not so clearly characterized any other communi- 
cator, unless we except George Pelham. The second lim- 
itation to the accusation is the fact that the statements which 
are not trivial and confused, very often, if not generally, lack 
evidential character. AH communications about the other 
life, about the first experiences after death, about the laws of 
life and action on the " other side " are worthless as evidence 
of the supernormal, and the student of abnormal psychology 
would consign us to bedlam if we put this sort of thing for- 
ward as evidence of spirits. Consequently we have to select 
the incidents which have a supernormal character and which 
cannot be explained by abnormal psychologfy in order to 
present any support whatever for the existence of spirit. 
The argument is that^ having been acquired from some ex- 
ternal source, the information, owing to its relation to the 
personality of deceased individuals, can best be attributed to 
that source. * The non-evidential matter has to be ignored 
until we are obliged to recognize its unity with the super- 
normal incidents. This non-evidential matter exists in large 
quantities in the Piper and similar records, but cannot be 
used in discussions affecting the integrity of spiritistic the- 
ories. The assertion, therefore, that the matter is always 
trivial is not exactly true, and the circumstance gives us a 
vantage ground when the time comes to discuss other than 
evidential problems. 

I agree, nevertheless, that it is natural to complain of the 
triviality and confusion in the evidential matter. The want 

204 Journal of th€ American Society for Psychical Research, 

of a satisfactory explanation of them keeps back the accept- 
ance of the spiritistic hypothesis from many a scientific man, 
and hence I shall here state a view of the phenomena which 
I think completely removes the perplexity. Whether it is 
true or not remains to be shown in the future, but it can be 
put forward as a working hypothesis and its applicability to 
the facts on record and tested by the extent of its fitness 

The general supposition which, to the mind of Dr. Hodg- 
son and myself, explains the persistent triviality and con- 
fusion of the messages is that the communicating spirit at the 
time of communicating (not necessarily in his normal state in the 
spirit Xivrl(l), is in a sort of abnormal mental state, perhaps resem- 
bling our dream life or somnambulic conditions. We cannot de- 
termine exactly what this mental condition is at present and 
may never be able to do so, but it can be variously compared 
to dream life, somnambulism, hypnosis of certain kinds, 
trance, secondary personality, subliminal mental action, or 
any of those mental conditions in which there is more or less 
of disintegration of the normal memory. Ordinary delirium 
has some analogies with it, but the incidents are too pur- 
posive and too systematic in many cases to press this an- 
alogy to any general extent. But the various disturbances 
of the normal consciousness or personality in the living offer 
clear illustrations of the psychological phenomena which we 
produce as evidence of spirits when these phenomena are 
supernormally produced. 

But this hypothesis does not explain all the confusion in- 
volved. There is the more or less unusual condition of the 
medium, mental and physical. The medium through which 
the messages purport to come is in a trance condition, and 
when not a trance the condition is one which is not usual, 
and perhaps in the broad sense may be called abnormal, tho 
not technically this in any important sense. This condition 
offers many obstacles to perfect transmission of messages. 
It is illustrated in many cases of somnambulism in which the 
stream of consciousness goes on uninhibited, and when this 
is suppressed, as it is in deep trances, the difficulty is to get 
systematic communications through it. Add to this the fre- 

Cmclusion of Experunents Relative to Dr. Hodgson. 205 

quently similar condition of the communicator, according to 
the hypothesis, and we can well imagine what causes trivial- 
ity and confusion. The student of abnormal psychology will 
recognize the applicability of this view at once, even tho he 
is not prepared to admit that it is a true theory. 

There are two aspects of such an hypothesis which have to 
be considered. They are its fitness or explanatory character, 
and its evidential features. They are quite distinct from each 
other. The hypothesis might fit and yet have no evidence 
that it was a fact. I think, however, that all who are familiar 
with abnormal mental phenomena will admit without special 
contention that the hypothesis will explain the triviality and 
confusion of the alleged messages, but they will want to know 
what evidence exists for such a view. It is to this aspect of 
the theory to which we must turn. 

Dr. Hodgson had discussed this supposition in his Report 
on the Piper case in 1898. It is therefore not new, and some 
incidents in his communications seem to point to the influ- 
ence of this view on his messages. I shajl quote one passage 
from his Report in illustration of the hypothesis and of some 
of his evidence for it. 

*' That persons ' just deceased/ '' says this Report, (p. 
377), *' should be extremely confused and unable to com- 
municate directly, or even at all, seems perfectly natural after 
the shock and wrench of death. Thus in the case of Hart, he 
was unable to write the second day after his death. In an- 
other case a friend of mine, whom I may call D., wrote, with 
what appeared to be much difficulty, his name and the words, 
* I am all right now. Adieu,' within two or three days after 
his death. In another case, F., a nearrelative of Madame 
Elisa, was unable to write on the morning after his death. 
On the second day after, when a stranger was present with 
me for a sitting, he wrote two or three sentences, sayings, * I 
am too weak to articulate clearly,' and not many days later 
he wrote fairly well and clearly, and dictated also to Madame 
Elisa, as a manuensis, an account of his feelings at finding, 
himself in his new surroundings. Both D. and F. became 
very clear in a short time. D. communicated later on fre- 
quently, both by writing and speech, chiefly the latter, and 

206 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

showed always an impressively marked and characteristic 
personality. Hart, on the other hand, did not become so 
clear till many months later. I learned long afterwards that 
his lilness had been much longer and more fundamental than 
I had supposed. The continued confusion in his case seemed 
explicable if taken in relation with the circumstances of his 
prolonged illness, including fever, but there was no assign- 
able relation between his confusion and the state of my own 

The allusion in this passage to the effect of the shock of 
death recalls the passage quoted above (p. 189) and repre- 
senting Rector, the control, as remarking this effect to me as 
an apology for the confused and fragmentary communications 
from Dr. Hodgson himself. But as Mrs. Piper at least had 
the opportunity to read, and perhaps actually did read the 
whole of Dr. Hodgson's Report, we cannot speak of the inci- 
dent as evidential. It is merely consistent with an hypothe- 
sis based on other grounds. But the allusion to Mr. Myers 
in this connection, jls the reader will see by referring to the 
passage quoted, has some pertinence. It is true that Mr. 
Myers never accomplished by way of communication what 
was expected of him and what he himself expected before his 
death to do. The explanation of his- failure is perfectly ra- 
tional, tho not evidential. 

But the proper evidence for this dream life or semi-trance 
and somnambulic condition will be found in incidents which 
also contain supernormal facts. I quote one of remarkable 
interest. A man who had had sittings with Mrs. Piper before 
his death, some time after his decease, which took place in 
Paris, turned up as' a communicator without Mrs. Piper 
having known of his death. He had always been perplexed 
by the confusion and fragmentary nature of the messages of 
his deceased friend George Pelham. When he himself be- 
came a communicator it was some time before he was able to 
communicate clearly. When he could communicate he de- 
livered the following message to Dr. Hodgson : 

" What in the world is the reason you never call for me? 
im not sleeping. I wish to help you in identifying myself, 
im a good deal better now. 

Conclusion of Experiments Relative to Dr. Hodgson. 207 

(You were confused at first.) 

Very, but I did not really understand how confused I was. 
I am more so when I try to speak to you. I understand now 
why George spelled his words to me." 

The allusion to George Pelham's spelling out his words is 
an evidential incident, as it was verifiable and recognizes after 
death the explanation of confusions which he could not un- 
derstand while living. A similar tho not evidential passage 
came from this George Pelham himself. It represents the 
point of view which I am advancing to account for the 
curious nature of the messages, and was perhaps the com- 
munication which suggested the theory to Dr. Hodgson. I 
quote it from the latter's Report. 

" Remember we share and always shall have our friends 
in the dream life, i. e., your life so to speak, which will attract 
us for ever and ever, and so long as we have any friends 
sleeping in the material world ; — ^you to us are more like as we 
understand sleep, you look shut up as one in prison, and in 
order for us to get into communication with you, we have to 
enter into your sphere, as one like yourself asleep. This is 
just why we make mistakes as you call them, or get confused 
and muddled, so to put it H." 

At this point Dr. Hodgson read over the automatic writ- 
ing to indicate that he had gotten the message and how he 
understood it. The communications then went on. 

" Your thoughts do grasp mine. Well now you have just 
what I have been wanting to come and make clear to you, H., 
old fellow. 

(It is quite clear.) 

Yes, you see I am more awake than asleep, yet I cannot 
come just as I am in reality, independently of the medium's 

(You come much better than the others.) Yes, because 
I am a little nearer and not less intelligent than some others 

At one of Dr. Hodgson's later sittings the same communi- 
cator, George Pelham, used the word " prisoned " in a pas- 
sage in which " prisoning " was in Dr. Hodgson's view the 

208 Journal of tlie American Society for Psychical Research. 

more correct term, and he suggested the correction. George 
Pelham broke out with the reply : — 

" See here, H., ' Don't view me with a critic's eye, but pass 
my imperfections by.' Of course I know all that as well as 
anybody on your sphere. I tell you, old fellow, it don't do 
to pick [out] all these little errors too much when they 
amount to nothing in one way. You have light enough and 
brain enough I know to understand my explanations of being 
shut up in this body [that of the medium] dreaming as it 
were and trying to help on science." 

The possibility of all this every reader must admit, when 
he has once felt the force of the supernormal matter in favor 
of the spiritistic theory, tho he will rightly hold that it is not 
evidence of any conclusive kind. But it hangs together well 
with the character of the messages in all cases, and when we 
recall our own power to tell something of the mental status 
of a man who is talking to us or whose book we are reading 
we may well admit that the confused and fragmentary nature 
of the messages suggest and confirm the view taken in these 

I go next to some of the communications from Dr. Hodg- 
son, as narrated in this series of articles. I need refer only to 
the incident of the '* nigger talk " (February Journal, p. 97), 
in which the amnesia, or disturbance to memory, was clearly 
illustrated, unless we can assume that the cause of the con- 
fusion was the mental and physical mechanism of Mrs. Piper 
through whom the message had to come. A better instance 
is the following: 

A certain gentleman was a member of the Board of 
Trustees of the American Institute for Scientific Research 
and Dr. Hodgson knew both the man and this fact of his 
membership. This gentleman resigned from the Board some 
months after the death of Dr. Hodgson, a fact which was 
most probably not known to Mrs. Piper. In one of my sit- 
tings the following occurred : 

'' Is X. with you? 

(No, he resigned.) 

What for? I thought so. 

(Well, Hodgson, it is best not to say publicly.) 

Conclusion of Experiments Relative to Dr, Hodgsoft. 209 

I am not public, am I ? 

(Well, it would stand in my record, Hodgson.) 

Oh, of course, I understand." 

Now the interest of this incident lies in this simple fact. 
Dr. Hodgson was familiar for eighteen years with the record 
of Mrs. Piper's sittings, and for ten years with the careful 
record of what was done in both speech and writing. Here 
he is apparently wholly unaware of what is going on in the 
communications. His mental condition has apparently made 
him oblivious to the fact of record, or what the trance person- 
alities or controls call '* registering " a message. Amnesia 
had come on as an accident or concomitant of the condition 
necessary for communicating, at least for all that affected the 
unnecessary parts of his communications. The control of 
the stream of consciousness is not so perfect as in the earthly 
life. The reasons for this cannot be made clear here, but the 
psychiatrist will understand it from his knowledge of unin- 
hibited mental processes. 

One of the best illustrations of this is Rector's statements 
of the reason for the difficulties of communicating, as the 
reader may have noticed above (p. 189). The passage, of 
course, is not evidential, but when the spiritistic hypothesis 
has been rendered rational by evidential matter it is not un- 
reasonable to examine statements of this kind with patience 
and to give them the status of a working hypothesis to ascer- 
tain whether it may not be confirmed by other characteristics 
of the phenomena. 

I quote some statements communicated at the sitting of 
February 27th, 1906. After a question that I had asked re- 
garding a certain word that would bear on his identity, Dr. 
Hodgson alluded to the danger of '* making a botch " of his 
messages and broke out with the statement : " It is so suffo- 
cating here. I can appreciate their difficulties better than 
ever before." Here he was intimating ideas which he held 
as to the difficulty of communicating before he himself passed 
away, and he had often compared the influence of the con- 
ditions to that of mephitic gases, and we know what effect 
they have on the integrity of consciousness. A few minutes 
after the deliverance of this statement, and wMth it in mind, I 

210 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 

asked if we had conjectured the difficulties fairly well. The 
reply was : " We did surprisingly well. I was surprised 
enough/' and then at once passed to communications about 
his own handwriting which had often been illegible to me 
when he was living. The admission here of suffocation 
points to the hypothesis which I have advanced, tho in no 
way proving it, and his manner of admitting the correctness 
of our view regarding the difficulties is a fact consistent with 
the hypothesis. 

We have only to study dreams and deliria in order to un- 
derstand the influences which tend to produce confusion and 
fragmentary messages. If accidents and shocks in life which 
are less violent than death disturb the memory, as we know 
they do, the student of abnormal psychology being perfecdy 
familiar with the phenomena in numerous cases, would 
expect that so violent a change as death would disturb mem- 
ory and reproduction still more seriously. Add to this the 
mind's freedom from the body with all the physiological in- 
hibitions cut off, and we might well expect less control of the 
processes which recall the past in the proper way for illus- 
trating one's identity. This disturbance might not last in- 
definitely. The individual might fully recover from it in a 
normal spiritual life, tho the time for this recovery might 
vary with individuals and with the circumstances of their 
death. But the recovery of a normal mental balance in the 
proper ethereal environment on the " other side " would not 
of itself be a complete guarantee of its retention when coming 
into terrestrial and material conditions to communicate. 
We may well suppose it possible that this " coming back " 
produces an effect similar to the amnesia which so often ac- 
companies a shock or sudden interference with the normal 
stream of consciousness. The effect seems to be the same as 
that of certain kinds of dissociation which are now being 
studied by the student of abnormal psychology, and this is 
the disturbance of memory which makes it difficult or impos- 
sible to recall in one mental state the events which have been 
experienced in another. 

For at least superficial indications in the records that this 
is the case I shall simply repeat my reference to the first part 

Conclusion of Experiments RelaHve to Dr. Hodgson. 211 

of this article in which I quote at such length the fragmentary 
and confused messages purporting to come from Dr. Hodg- 
son. I need not requote them here. They at least appar- 
ently illustrate in a clear manner the point I am making. 

Nor do I rely upon the Piper case alone for evidence of 
the conditions here conjectured. I have had similar state- 
ments made through two other private mediums, whom I 
have quoted in this series of articles. In some cases the lan- 
guage is identical with that used through Mrs. Piper, tho its 
use in Mrs. Piper was not known by the other person 
through whom it came. 

One good illustration of this abnormal mental condition 
on the part of communicators is found in an incident told me 
by Dr. Hodgson before his death and which I have men- 
tioned elsewhere in another periodical. It was the incident 
of a communicator telling through Mrs. Piper a circumstance 
which he said had represented some act of his life. But in- 
quiry showed that no such act had been performed by him 
when living. But it turned out that he had made the same 
statemetit in the delirium of death. It is especially noticeable in 
certain forms of communication of the " possession " type 
that the last scenes of the deceased are acted over again in 
their first attempts to control or communicate. The mental 
confusion relevant to the death of my father was apparent in 
his first attempt to communicate through Mrs. Piper, and 
when I recalled this period of his dying experience this con- 
fusion was repeated in a remarkable manner with several 
evidential features in the messages. Twice an uncle lost the 
sense of personal identity in the attempt to communicate. 
His communications were in fact so confused that it was two 
years before he became at all clear in his efforts. He had 
died as the result of a sudden accident. Once my father, 
after mentioning the illness of my living sister and her name, 
lost his personal identity long enough to confuse incidents 
with himself and his earthly life with those that applied to 
my sister and not to himself. The interesting feature of the 
incident was that, having failed to complete his messages a 
few minutes previously, when he came back the second time 
to try it again, Rector, the control, warned me that he was a 

212 Journal of the Aftterican Society for Psychical Research. 

little confused, but that what he wanted to tell me certainly 
referred to m)'^ sister Lida. Then came the message claiming 
experiences for himself when living that were verifiable as 
my sister's. On any theory of the facts a confused state of 
mind is the only explanation of them, and when associated 
with incidents of a supernormal and evidential character they 
afford reasonable attestation of the hypothesis here sug- 

I shall give one long and complicated instance of this con> 
fusion in an incident having great evidential value and yet 
showing remarkable confusion involving apparently the loss 
of the sense of personal identity and the correction of the 
error in the first allusion to the incidents. 

At the sitting of June 6th, 1899, (Proceedings, Vol. XYI, 
pp. 469-470), I thought I would test the telepathic theory by 
asking of my father incidents that had occurred before I was 
born and that my two aunts, then living, would know. I 
made this request and was told at once that this would not 
be so difficult a thing to do. In a few moments several 
things were communicated, one of which was verifiable and 
one of which came within my memory as an incident told me, 
not as remembered personally. Then one of the aunts was 
mentioned by name, Eliza, and an incident told which I could 
not verify. Then the communicator at once broke out into 
the following clear statement, purporting to come from my 
father : — x 

" I have something better. Ask her if she recalls the 
evening when we broke the wheel to the wagon and who 
tried to cover it up so it would not leak out, so to speak. I 
remember it as if it happened yesterday, and she will remem- 
ber it too." 

When interrogated as to the truth of this my aunt said 
that no such accident had ever occurred in the life of my 
father and herself. The consequence was that in my Report 
on the Piper case, published in 1901, I had to say that the 
incident was wholly false or unverifiable. No ascertainable 
meaning was then to be obtained with reference to its real 

On February 5th, 1900, at another sitting this aunt was 

Conclusion of Experiments Relative to Dr. Hodgson. 213 

again spontaneously mentioned by my father purporting to 
communicate and I made some statement about my difficulty 
in getting verification for some of the incidents he had told 
of their early life, telling him of her dislike and opposition to 
the whole subject. There came the following response 
through the automatic writing of Mrs. Piper: — 

" Oh, I understand. Of course, I see clearly. Well, tell 
her I do not intend to say anything which would be distaste- 
ful to her, but if she will only help me in my recollections of 
our childhood days it will be doing nothing but right, and it 
will help to prove my true existence to you. James, I am 
your father, and there is no gainsaying it. 

What I would now ask is that Eliza should recall the 

drive home and — let me see a moment — I am sure but 

it was one of shafts, but the wagon broke, some part of it, 
and we tied it with a cord. I remember this very well. Do 
you remember old Tom ?" 

Now Tom was the name of a horse in my time and long 
after the childhood of my aunt Eliza, and he died somewhere 
about 1880. He had no connection with any drive that my 
father could have taken before I was born. The reader, how- 
ever, will remark the abrupt play of memory in this matter, 
the exhibition of uninhibited association which is character- 
istic of a dream like state of consciousness. 

But when I asked my aunt Eliza about the accident it was 
again denied as never having occurred in her life with my 
father, nor with any one else so far as she knew. I had, 
therefore, to declare this false. 

On June 3rd, 1902, I had another sitting with Mrs. Piper 
and my uncle, who had been such a confused communicator 
in my earlier experiments, turned up, so to speak. He began 
some confused messages and I determined to ask a test ques- 
tion of his identity. But before continuing the statements 
of the record I should detail an incident that occurred with 
this uncle and myself the day after my father's death. He 
had married this aunt Eliza, my father's sister. 

My father died on Saturday. On the Sunday following, 
while my father was lying a corpse in this uncle's house, a 
telegram came from Chicago which had to be delivered in 

214 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

the country. My uncle and I took a buggy and went into 
the country to deliver the telegram. While passing a neg^o 
boy with a goat and wagon the horse shied, turned the buggy 
over, dragged it over both of us — my uncle holding on to the 
lines — injured the wheels, broke the shaft and the harness, 
and we had to tie them up with straps and strings. When 
we got home it was dusk, and we resolved to say nothing 
about the accident to any one in the house. But both of us 
were so badly injured that we could not conceal it longer 
than the next morning, that of the funeral. I was six months 
getting over the effects and my uncle perhaps as long. 

When my uncle came to communicate on this occasion of 
June 3rd, 1902, I had these incidents in mind when I resolved 
to ask my test question. I now quote the record. 

'* (You and I took something together, you remember, 
just after father passed out.) 

You are thinking of that ride, I guess I do not forget it. 
My head is troublesome in thinking. I hope to be clearer 
soon. This is my second attempt. 

(You can tell what happened in that ride when you can 
make it clear.) 

I will. Do you remember a stone we put together. Not 
quite right. Til see you again. Farewell. He has gone 
out to think." [Last remark by Rector in explanation of 
the confusion.] 

The next day this uncle returned to the task and began 
with incidents that were not verifiable in my experience and 
that were as confused and erroneous as that which I have 
been quoting. I repeated my question to bring him back to 
the subject. 

'* (Please to tell me something about that ride just after 
father passed out.) 

Your father told you about it before, but had it on his mind, 

(If you can tell it, please to do so.) 

Do you remember the stone we put there. (Where?) 
At the grave. 

(Whose g^ave?) Your father's. You mean this ride. 

Conclusion of Experiments Relative to Dr. Hodgson, 215 

I think we are thinking of different things. You don't 
mean that Sunday afternoon, do you? 

(Yes, that's right.) 

Yes, I remember well the breakdown, etc." 

The communicator then went on in the most frag- 
mentary way and alluded to breaking the harness, the wheel, 
said we had a red horse and that it had been frightened by a 
dog [it was a goat], that we tied the broken harness with a 
string and got home late in the evening, remarking: "Oh, I 
am your uncle all right." 

It would take up too much space to give the detailed ac- 
count which is very confused. But the communicator speci- 
fied the main events in the incident of our experience at the 
time mentioned. They were all substantially correct, except 
the reference to the dog, most of them exactly correct. 

The most important thing to remember about this set of 
incidents is that they correct an error in my original Report 
and do it in a way to indicate that the first attempt was as- 
sociated with an unusual mental state on the part of the com- 
municator. Of course, the whole incident depends for its 
value on the exclusion of fraud from its character, and as we 
assume that this has been done we do not take that hypothe- 
sis jnto account here in the discussion. Accepting the ex- 
clusion of fraud the incidents represent one of the best evi- 
dential cases that I know for the exclusion of telepathy from 
their explanation. The event, too, explains the meaning of 
the confused statements by my father. My uncle, if I may 
state the matter constructively in regard to the " other side," 
had given the incident to my father who was a better com- 
municator, thinking that it would identify him to me and his 
wife, my father's sister Eliza. But in his mental confusion 
my father gave as an incident in his own life before I was 
bom one that had occurred with me and his brother-in-law 
the day after his own death, and this error is corrected by 
my uncle long afterward and amidst nearly as much mental 
confusion as that in which the original error was committed. 
There is here more or less evidence of the loss of the con- 
sciousness of personal identity, a condition quite closely re- 
sembling that of delirium, and that certainly characterizes 

216 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 

most of our dreams. Only the relation of the incidents is 
wanting in the first mention of it to indicate its meaning- and 
that relation is concealed by the failure to indicate that the 
experience was that of some one else than the narrator. 

What first strikes one in the incident is the absurdity of 
explaining it by any form of telepathy, assuming that the 
facts guarantee the existence of supernormal information, 
and with the exclusion of that hypothesis we have no alter- 
native to the admission of the spiritistic with its accompani- 
ment, in this instance, of some other difficulty than medium- 
istic obstacles to the transmission of the message. No doubt 
there are hindrances to clear communications in the physical 
and mental conditions of the medium. But in this instance 
the claim, implied in the message as I received it from my 
father, that the incidents were personal experiences associ- 
ated with his life before I was born and the abruptness of 
their introduction in connection with events with which they 
were not historically associated indicates a phenomenon ex- 
actly like dreams and deliria, recognizable by any one who 
has studied psychology. Assuming then that this instance, 
with others, indicates some unnatural mental state as a con- 
dition of communicating, at least in " possession " types of 
mediumship, we have a perfectly rational explanation of the 
persistent triviality and confusion in the messages. In fact 
the detailed records of such phenomena have only to be pa- 
tiently studied in order to give the phenomena that intelligi- 
bility and rationality as spiritistic communications which 
cannot be appreciated on any other hypothesis, and this be- 
cause the nature and limitations of the communications are 
such as we might expect from human personality laboring 
under difficulties which are not so apparent on other the- 
ories, especially as the assumption of telepathy must face the 
contradiction between its immense powers to account for the 
true facts and its limitations in the errors. 

One incident in the communications by George Pelham 
about Dr. Hodgson bears on the main point. There is evi- 
dence — too complicated to detail in this paper — that the com- 
municator is less disturbed mentally (and perhaps not at all 
after a certain period of time) in his normal state on the 

Cottclusiofi of Experiments Relative to Dr. Hodgson, 217 

" other side " than when communicating. I quoted the in- 
stance (p. 128) in which George Pelham said regarding Dr. 
Hodgson, that " normally he is all right, but when he comes 
into our wretched atmosphere he goes all to pieces." If we 
take the various records in my possession representing ap- 
parent attempts on Dr. Hodgson's part to communicate 
through other mediums than Mrs. Piper it is clear that this 
statement of George Pelham is perfectly true, and that he 
does better through Mrs. Piper than elsewhere, tho he. has 
more difficulty even there than many other communicators. 

But instead of producing evidence of this sort which many 
may question altogether, we may look at the situation in an- 
other way. We may concede for the sake of argument that 
all this is not proof, tho some of the incidents containing 
supernormal information and characteristics of mental con- 
fusion at the same time can hardly be refused evidential value 
in reference to the claim here made. But not to insist on 
this way of discussing the hypothesis, there is one method 
that the scientific man cannot dispute. This is to present 
the case in the light of a working hypothesis. This means 
that we shall simply ask if the hypothesis does not actually 
fit the facts and then try its application to see if it will remain 
consistent with them throughout. That is to say we may 
say to ourselves, " Let us see if it will actually explain the 
perplexities which are suggested by all this triviality and 
confusion." If we find the hypothesis fitting the facts we 
recognize that it is the correct one to entertain until we find 
reason to reject it. 

Now if intelligent people — and this means those who are 
familiar with secondary personality, with dream states and 
deliria, and with abnormal psychology generally — will only 
imagine the possibility of what is here supposed and then 
study the detailed records with a view of ascertaining 
whether it fits enough of the facts to explain their perplex- 
ities on the points mentioned, I am confident that they will 
find the whole subject clear up, and its perplexities yielding 
to a perfectly simple conception of their cause, tho they will 
find the same difficulties in explaining certain specific details 
that any hypothesis has to meet. 

214 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 

the country. My uncle and I took a buggy and went into 
the country to deliver the telegram. While passing a negro 
boy with a goat and wagon the horse shied, turned the buggy 
over, dragged it over both of us — my uncle holding on to the 
lines — injured the wheels, broke the shaft and the harness, 
and we had to tie them up with straps and strings. When 
we got home it was dusk, and we resolved to say nothing 
about the accident to any one in the house. But both of us 
were so badly injured that we could not conceal it longer 
than the next morning, that of the funeral. I was six months 
getting over the effects and my uncle perhaps as long. 

When my uncle came to communicate on this occasion of 
June 3rd, 1902^ I had these incidents in mind when I resolved 
to ask my test question. I now quote the record. 

" (You and I took something together, you remember, 
just after father passed out.) 

You are thinking of that ride. I guess I do not forget it. 
My head is troublesome in thinking. I hope to be clearer 
soon. This is my second attempt. 

(You can tell what happened in that ride when you can 
make it clear.) 

I will. Do you remember a stone we put together. Not 
quite right. FU see you again. Farewell. He has gone 
out to think." [Last remark by Rector in explanation of 
the confusion.] 

The next day this uncle returned to the task and began 
with incidents that were not verifiable in my experience and 
that were as confused and erroneous as that which I have 
been quoting. I repeated my question to bring him back to 
the subject. 

" (Please to tell me something about that ride just after 
father passed out.) 

Your father told you about it before, but had it on his mind, 

(If you can tell it, please to do so.) 

Do you remember the stone we put there. (Where?) 
At the grave. 

(Whose grave?) Your father's. You mean this ride. 

Conclusion of Experiments Relative to Dr. Hodgson. 21S 

I think we are thinking of different things. You don't 
mean that Sunday afternoon, do you ? 

(Yes, that's right.) 

Yes, I remember well the breakdown, etc." 

The communicator then went on in the most frag- 
mentary way and alluded to breaking the harness, the wheel, 
said we had a red horse and that it had been frightened by a 
dog [it was a goat], that we tied the broken harness with a 
string and got home late in the evening, remarking: "Oh, I 
am your uncle all right." 

It would take up too much space to give the detailed ac- 
count which IS very confused. But the communicator speci- 
fied the main events in the incident of our experience at the 
time mentioned. They were all substantially correct, except 
the reference to the dog, most of them exactly correct. 

The most important thing to remember about this set of 
incidents is that they correct an error in my original Report 
and do it in a way to indicate that the first attempt was as- 
sociated with an unusual mental state on the part of the com- 
municator. Of course, the whole incident depends for its 
value on the exclusion of fraud from its character/ and as we 
assume that this has been done we do not take that hypothe- 
sis into account here in the discussion. Accepting the ex- 
clusion of fraud the incidents represent one of the best evi- 
dential cases that I know for the exclusion of telepathy from 
their explanation. The event, too, explains the meaning of 
the confused statements by my father. My uncle, if I may 
state the matter constructively in regard to the " other side," 
had given the incident to my father who was a better com- 
municator, thinking that it would identify him to me and his 
wife, my father's sister Eliza. But in his mental confusion 
my father gave as an incident in his own life before I was 
bom one that had occurred with me and his brother-in-law 
the day after his own death, and this error is corrected by 
my uncle long afterward and amidst nearly as much mental 
confusion as that in which the original error was committed. 
There is here more or less evidence of the loss of the con- 
sciousness of personal identity, a condition quite closely re- 
sembling that of delirium, and that certainly characterizes 

216 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 

most of our dreams. Only the relation of the incidents is 
wanting in the first mention of it to indicate its meaning and 
that relation is concealed by the failure to indicate that the 
experience was that of some one else than the narrator. 

What first strikes one in the incident is the absurdity of 
explaining it by any form of telepathy, assuming that the 
facts guarantee the existence of supernormal information, 
and with the exclusion of that hypothesis we have no alter- 
native to the admission of the spiritistic with its accompani- 
ment, in this instance, of some other difficulty than medium- 
istic obstacles to the transmission of the message. No doubt 
there are hindrances to clear communications in the physical 
and mental conditions of the medium. But in this instance 
the claim, implied in the message as I received it from my 
father, that the incidents were personal experiences associ- 
ated with his life before I was born and the abruptness of 
their introduction in connection with events with which they 
were not historically associated indicates a phenomenon ex- 
actly like dreams and deliria, recognizable by any one who 
has studied psychology. Assuming then that this instance, 
with others, indicates some unnatural mental state as a con- 
dition of communicating, at least in " possession " types of 
mediumship, we have a perfectly rational explanation of the 
persistent triviality and confusion in the messages. In fact 
the detailed records of such phenomena have only to be pa- 
tiently studied in order to give the phenomena that intelligi- 
bility and rationality as spiritistic communications which 
cannot be appreciated on any other hypothesis, and this be- 
cause the nature and limitations of the communications are 
such as we might expect from human personality laboring 
under difficulties which are not so apparent on other the- 
ories, especially as the assumption of telepathy must face the 
contradiction between its immense powers to account for the 
true facts and its limitations in the errors. 

One incident in the communications by George Pelham 
about Dr. Hodgson bears on the main point. There is evi- 
dence — too complicated to detail in this paper — that the com- 
municator is less disturbed mentally (and perhaps not at all 
after a certain period of time) in his normal state on the 

Conclusiofi of Experiments Relative to Dr, Hodgson. 217 

"other side" than when communicating. I quoted the in- 
stance (p. 128) in which George Pelham said regarding Dr. 
Hodgson, that " normally he is all right, but when he comes 
into our wretched atmosphere he goes all to pieces." If we 
take the various records in my possession representing ap- 
parent attempts on Dr. Hodgson's part to communicate 
through other mediums than Mrs. Piper it is clear that this 
statement of George Pelham is perfectly true, and that he 
docs better through Mrs. Piper than elsewhere, tho he has 
more difficulty even there than many other communicators. 

But instead of producing evidence of this sort which many 
may question altogether, we may look at the situation in an- 
other way. We may concede for the sake of argument that 
all this is not proof, tho some of the incidents containing 
supernormal information and characteristics of mental con- 
fusion at the same time can hardly be refused evidential value 
in reference to the claim here made. But not to insist on 
this way of discussing the hypothesis, there is one method 
that the scientific man cannot dispute. This is to present 
the case in the light of a working hypothesis. This means 
that we shall simply ask if the hypothesis does not actually 
fit the facts and then try its application to see if it will remain 
consistent wMth them throughout. That is to say we may 
say to ourselves, " Let us see if it will actually explain the 
perplexities which are suggested by all this triviality and 
confusion." If we find the hypothesis fitting the facts we 
recognize that it is the correct one to entertain until we find 
reason to reject it. 

Now if intelligent people — and this means those who are 
familiar with secondary personality, with dream states and 
deliria, and with abnormal psychology generally — ^will only 
imagine the possibility of what is here supposed and then 
study the detailed records with a view of ascertaining 
whether it fits enough of the facts to explain their perplex- 
ities on the points mentioned, I am confident that they will 
find the whole subject clear up, and its perplexities yielding 
to a perfectly simple conception of their cause, tho they will 
find the same difficulties in explaining certain specific details 
that any hypothesis has to meet. 

218 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

I have occupied attention regarding the conditions af- 
fecting the communicator in the process of sending messages 
from a transcendental world. These were supposed to ac- 
count for the confusion and triviality of the messages. I 
shall say, however, that the dream-like trance of the com- 
municator is not the only cause of the characteristics in the 
messages that have so long given rise to objections against 
the spiritistic hypothesis. There is another and just as im- 
portant a source of the confusion and possibly of the error in 
the communications. This is the mental condition of the 
medium. That this should in some way affect the com- 
munications would, perhaps, be admitted without dispute by 
any one who was familiar with psychology, especially of the 
abnormal type. But the point to be decided would be that 
which regards the nature of that influence and in what special 
respect the communications are affected by that mental con- 
dition. In general the simple answer to this query would be 
that it would most naturally vary with the condition in which 
the medium was at the time. 

We must remember that the idea of a trance is not a fixed 
and clear one. Trance is but a name for an exceedingly 
fluctuating condition and that is not exactly the same in 
different mediums. The effect of this condition on messages 
intromitted into the psychic's mind will vary with the nature 
of that trance. If the medium remains normally conscious 
the first question to be raised would be whether the cleavage 
between the supraliminal or ordinarily normal consciousness 
and the subliminal or subconscious mental activities is great 
enough to exclude the normal interpreting and other pro- 
cesses from modifying the thoughts introduced into the mind 
from the outside. In some cases the messages enter the 
normal consciousness either as a condition of their delivery 
or as an incident of it. In others they are delivered without 
any apparent knowledge of their coming or of their nature. 
On the other hand if the supraliminal consciousness is sus- 
pended the subconscious action of the mind may reproduce 
all the influences of the normal mind except its memory of 
their occurrence or of the messages. Only when the trance 
extends to the subconscious processes can we expect the re- 

Canclusian of Experiments Relative to Dr. Hodgson, 219 

moval of the interpreting action of the mind through which 
messages otherwise come. Even then we generally or 
always find the existence of limitations determined by the 
habits and experience of the medium, such as the spelling, 
style of writing, and even the use of terms. I have often seen 
the same message through different mediums expressed in 
different terms characterized by the difference of mental 
habits in the cases. Thus a medium who is in the habit of 
using the word " Sunday " in her normal life will most likely 
employ this term — not always, as much depends on the depth 
of the trance — while one used to the term " Sabbath " may 
employ that for the same message. I know one that was 
accustomed to spell the word " coughs " thus, " caughts " in 
her normal state, and it was so spelled in the trance, tho the 
communicator would never have so spelled it, and in this case 
there were many supernormal incidents accompanying the 
language and automatic writing through which they came. 
In another the term " agoing," which was the natural expres- 
sion of the medium's normal life for the idea conveyed, was 
given in the same sentence which had " going " in the case 
of Mrs. Piper. In still another the automatic writing would 
produce one word and the normal consciousness would think 
of another and synonymous or similar word. 

All these when they occur show unmistakable influences 
from the mind of the medium upon messages intromitted 
into it. All that remains after the admission of the fact of 
this influence is the determination of the extent of it by the 
study of actual and concrete instances. I shall devote a little 
time to the study of the phenomena of Mrs. Verrall which 
were published in the last Report of the English Society. It 
is one of the most important documents in this respect that 
has been published by the Society, tho it does not give as 
much of the detailed record as is desirable. 

The important fact to remember is that Mrs. Verrall does 
not go into a trance, but remains normally conscious when 
the automatic writing is done. It is also just as important 
to remember that we do not require to hold any special 
theory of interpretation regarding the phenomena occurring 
in her case. We may accept telepathy as an adequate ex- 

224 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

of abnormal mental conditions affecting the character of the 

We have, therefore, the following conception of the pro- 
cess in communications purporting to come from deceased 
persons, at least in one type of medium, namely, the " pos- 
session " type. First the communicator is in a dream-like or 
somnambulic state, and communicating his thoughts to the 
trance-personality or " control." Then there is the " con- 
trol," whether spirit or subconscious state, representing also 
a trance condition on any theory and receiving the super- 
normal information and transmitting it through the mental 
conditions of the medium. Then there is the trance condi- 
tion of the medium involving the suspension of the normal 
mental functions with all the disturbances usually affecting 
such a condition. Sometimes also the communicator pur- 
ports also to have another intermediary through whom the 
messages are sent to the " control " and subjecting them to 
still further modification. This was the case quite frequently 
in some of my experiments when one of the communicators 
had George Pelham to act as this intermediary between him- 
self and the " control." It matters not what theory we hold 
of the phenomena this is the psychological form which they 
took, and it is this which I am emphasizing rather than the 
spiritistic hypothesis. 

In addition to these general conditions there are various 
degrees and stages of them, along with inter-cosmic con- 
ditions affecting the transmission of messages from spirit to 
medium or personality to personality. For instance, in the 
possession type of medium the trance is a deep one and the 
communicator seems to be affected very distinctly with some 
form of fluctuating amnesia or defective memory, and the 
difficulty is to control one's mental processes sufficiently to 
communicate at all. On the other hand, there is the sub- 
liminal type of medium which represents a less deep condi- 
tion of trance, if, indeed, there is any of this at all. In such 
cases the mind of the medium is less in rapport with a trans- 
cendental world than the possession type and so naturally 
modifies the communications by all sorts of perceptive and 
interpreting processes. Apparently the communicator in 

Conclusion of Experiments RekUive to Dr. Hodgson, 225 

such cases is clearer and less affected by the conditions of 
communicating. But what he gains by this situation is lost 
by the amnesia when he comes to communicate through the 
possession type. When we add to these circumstances the 
fact that all sorts of cerebral complications in the transmis- 
sion are involved and may avail to disturb the integrity of the 
communications we may well wonder how any form of com- 
munication whatever is possible. The confusion might well 
be much worse than it is. 

Then again the mode of communication is not what it 
commonly seems. In the possession type it is usually auto- 
matic writing that serves as the process of transmission, in 
so far as we know it on this side. What it is on the other 
is not apparent on the surface, but seems, after a study of a 
large record, to involve something like telepathy between 
the spirit and the medium. For instance, communicators do 
not always refer to it as speakings but often as thinking. The 
distinction is often implied in the phrase " this way of speak- 
ing," and various hints and statements indicate that the 
process of communication between the living has no clear 
analogies with that necessarily assumed in these phenomena. 
Whatever they are, they indicate on their surface something 
different from the familiar, and various circumstances suggest 
the existence of analogies with telepathic agencies and the 
presence of a dream-like mental state in the real or alleged 
communicator. On the other hand, if the subliminal type of 
medium is studied we find more definite evidence of an inter- 
esting and unusual condition affecting the messages. If the 
communications take the form of descriptive speech by the 
medium it is noticeable that they seem to be describing what 
they see, and odd enough are the implications, very often, of 
these descriptions. The medium seems to be looking at 
objects and describing them as in real life. It is precisely 
this simulation of the material world and the real or ap- 
parent reproduction of " spirit clothes " and various material 
characteristics that we should naturally suppose were cast off 
by death that gives so much offense to the man of intelli- 
gence and common sense, especially if he has any sense of 

226 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 

But it is not at all necessary to take these descriptions as 
they appear. They may be the result of telepathic messages 
from the living or dead converted into phantasms or halluci- 
nations by the subliminal activities of the medium through 
whom they come. This view does not require us to suppose 
more than a thought world beyond the grave converted into 
apparent reality by the process necessary to establish a con- 
nection between the material and the spiritual world. In the 
dream, somnambulic, or hypnotic life of all persons the sub- 
conscious processes reproduce ideas or mental states in the 
form of hallucinations. They are, of course, not of that per- 
sistent type that indicates a morbid condition, but they are 
just as apparently representative of reality as normal sense 
perceptions. Now, if ideas from outside minds can be trans- 
mitted to the living, whether in trance or other unusual 
condition, as the process is not one of sense perception^ but 
some supernormal action, it would be most natural to look in 
subliminal mental action for the agency through which the 
extraneous thought is transmitted or expressed, and as sub- 
liminal action is so closely associated with hallucinatory 
functions foreign thoughts might appear as realities just as 
hallucinations do and yet not represent those realities any 
more than do hallucinations. Suppose, then, a dream-like 
state of the dead when trying to communicate and a subcon- 
scious state of the medium through which the thought must 
be transmitted, and we might well expect all the appearance 
of realities, as they are described in mediumistic phenomena. 
The incidents of one's past life may be simply thought on 
the " other side " and as their telepathic impression on the 
subliminal mind of the medium results in a phantasm, an ap- 
parent reality to the medium, we ought to expect descrip- 
tions reproducing the features of a material world, without 
its characterizing such as a fact. 

Let me take as an example the message which I received 
through Mrs. Smith (Cf. p. 137). "Another person is here 
from the family circle ; a little boy four or five years old. He 
is grown up. He wears a little blouse and little pants like 
knickerbockers." Superficially such a communication, which 
exactly describes my brother and his clothes when he died 

Conclusion of Experiments Relative to Dr. Hodgson. 227 

forty years ago, represents an apparently material world of 
an absurd sort. The circumstances enable me to treat the 
incident here as not wholly due to chance. But if I am ex- 
pected to believe that ghosts have clothes I should have great 
difficulty in accepting and defending such a belief. But sup- 
pose that the communicator was simply thinking and that 
the medium was getting the message telepathically, — 
whether from the living or the dead matters not for our pur- 
poses, — and that the subconscious mind simply converted the 
transmitted ideas into hallucinatory phantasms, we could 
easily understand in this message a reference to the boy at 
the time he died, a recognition of maturity now — and this 
seems to be a characteristic of all such phenomena — and a 
phantasm of his dress reproduced from the thoughts of the 
communicator. In that view of the matter there would be 
no difficulty in giving a rational interpretation of tlie facts, 
and one that most easily consists with the spiritistic theory. 

If, then, we suppose that the communicator is in a dream- 
like state ; that the trance personality is also in more or less 
the same condition, and that the medium is also in a morbid 
condition of some kind, if that term is not too strong to ex- 
press it, we can well understand how trivial and confused 
messages would be the result of communication from an 
ethereal world, and much more would the result be affected, 
if telepathy be the process of communication, a process that 
is extremely rare and difficult between the living. All of the 
influences together which I have mentioned would explain 
easily enough the perplexities of those who cannot make up 
their minds on such phenomena as we have been discussing, 
and ought to show that the apparent inconsistencies in the 
various hypotheses are in reality not such, but are caused by 
the confusion incident to the operation of the several factors 
involved in the process of communication. 

In the present article it has been necessary to speak and 
think more positively regarding the spiritistic theory than in 
the previous papers. In them I was primarily interested in 
giving the facts, and I should have continued that policy in 
the present article, if the triviality and confusion could have 
been explained in any rational way without trying the ap- 

228 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

plication of the spiritistic explanation. I have, therefore, 
imagined the spiritistic point of view as entitled to a test in 
its application to the very facts which give rise to the sceptics 
most trusted objections. I do not put it forward as anything 
more than a working hypothesis, and shall unhesita'tingly 
abandon it if a better and simpler hypothesis can be obtained 
and supported by evidence. I should, of course, not abandon 
it to the ipse dixit of any one who can talk glibly about what 
" might be.'* I want to know whether there is any evidence 
that a particular " might be " is in reality a fact. As this is a 
scientific problem every hypothesis must have its evidence, 
and those that are supported by respectability and scepticism 
are quite as much under obligation to produce evidence as 
any spiritistic interpretation. All that I should ask is that 
any theory advanced must produce sufficient evidence in its 
support to render it more probable than another, and I 
should not listen to a priori possibilities in this or any other 
matter pretending to be a scientific problem. The question 
here concerns the best hypothesis in the light of the facts, and 
if any better than the spiritistic can be evidentially sustained 
I shall be the first to accept it. I am interested only in dis- 
covering a clue to the perplexities which all admit cannot be 
explained by the ordinary theories. 

Editorial, 229 


For the past few years a man representing himself as the 
"Rev. Dr." Hugh Moore, has been givmg spiritualistic 
seances, mainly of the " materializing " type, in New York. 
Recently one of the chief assistants in the performances con- 
fessed to the nature of the whole affair. The matter has 
been fully reported in the daily papers. We have taken 
pains to inquire of the editor of the Nciv York World regard- 
ing the incidents, and he states that, allowing for possible 
inaccuracies of the reporters, the details of the exposure are 
perfectly correct. The performances were the usual form of 
" materializing ^* exhibition, consisting of apparatus and dim 
lights, for representing " spirits." The " Rev. Hugh Moore " 
seems to have immediately left the city. However this may 
be, the performances have apparently ceased. 

We have called attention to this affair in order to use it 
for the purpose of divesting all readers of the notion that 
psychical research has any primary interest in " phenomena " 
of that kind. We are obliged by the nature of our work to 
give due attention to them, if only for exposing their worth- 
lessness. But, without considering their nature, whether 
genuine or false, they are not the kind of phenomena that 
will ever offer a hopeful field for scientific research, and the 
sooner that those who are interested in genuine psychology 
assign such things to a secondary place, the better for an in- 
telligent conception of our problem. No apology for " ma- 
terializing " seances can be made until the persons engaged 
in that sort of thing will submit to a rational investigation, 
and all rational investigations of the past in such matters 
have invariably terminated, so far as our knowledge goes, in 
the detection of fraud or illusion. 


I think a good illustration of what the general problem of 
psychic research is may be found in an editorial of the Nezv 
York Evening Post of May 21st, 1906. The subject, as the 

230 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 

reader will remark, is Sea Serpents. No other topic perhaps 
can illustrate in all its aspects the manner in which our prob- 
lem has to be viewed. Sea serpents have been a time- 
honored source of ridicule and so has the question of psychic 
research. Sea serpents, if they exist, certainly represent a 
very sporadic phenomenon, so also do the alleged facts of 
psychic research. Sea serpents, if they exist, also would add 
materially to the knowledge*of biological records, and if the 
supernormal exists it is of vast interest and importance in the 
fields of psychology. Hence equally for humor, seriousness, 
and method the two subjects may be compared. 

A most interesting circumstance to be noted is the fact 
that a paper like the Evening Post can seriously consider the 
evidence for the existence of sea serpents in the midst of the 
universal ridicule which that topic has and has had in journal- 
ism and elsewhere for many years. It is quite aware of the 
humorous aspects of the question, and in fact recognizes it, 
perhaps as a foil to protect its own intelligence against too 
serious a treatment of the matter. It is right that it should 
do so. But one wonders why a problem that has a million 
fold the evidence for its nature and importance should not 
receive at its hands the same considerate treatment. It can- 
not plead the importance of the question of sea serpents in its 
defence, for there is no matter of practical importance at- 
tached to it. It is much like North Pole expeditions which 
have some slight scientific interest, but none of social, eco- 
nomic or ethical importance. Psychic research can present 
such a mass of evidence, far superior to that for sea serpents, 
even tho it is not conclusive, and lays claim to such practical 
importance, that editorials on sea serpents would justify a 
good deal of irony and sarcasm in comparison. But we shall 
be content with an allusion to this and actually use the in- 
stance of its serious discussion as an illustration both of the 
problem before us and of the method which it is necessary to 
se in the solution of it. 

I do not mean here to suggest that we are to approach the 
icstion of sea serpents with any more seriousness than we 
ould that of psychic research; for both may have to be ap- 
oached with as much sense of humor as the amount of 

Ediiarial. 231 

illusion regarding both of them may justify. Nor do we feel 
it necessary here to think favorably of the evidence in one 
more than the other. All that we require is to show that the 
subject of psychic research has at least as good claims to 
encouragement and serious discussion as any that have been 
so closely associated with sailors' yarns and the visions of 
inebriates. If the question of sea serpents deserves scientific 
investigation and discussion, so does that of psychic research. 
If the latter is to be ridiculed, so much more the former. But 
we may treat both with as much critical judgment as the case 
requires without sacrificing our sense of humor or exagger- 
ating the gravity of the issues involved. But we must plead 
something more than respectability, if we are to justify the 
consideration of sea serpents and ridicule that of psychic 

There are just three points of interest to be remarked in 
the editorial which we quote. The first is the fact noticed 
by it that the stories of sailors for four hundred years coin- 
cide sufficiently to enable the student to remark a character 
common enough to describe a unique feature in sea serpents. 
Tho we cannot regard such a coincidence as proof in any 
respect, it would naturally seem that descriptions for so long 
a time would hardly unite in so distinctive a trait in a sea 
serpent as a mane of a certain character. This coincidence 
during so long a period is hardly due to chance however we 
may explain it. Whether it originated by a common tradi- 
tion among. that ignorant and imaginative class or not may 
not be determinable, but it does not seem to be a chance 
phenomenon. The second point is the fact that certain 
stories of a collective nature originate in a locality which 
might be the more natural habitat of the sea serpent, if geo- 
logical history be taken as a measure of the matter. Besides 
remark the presumption from geological remains of just such 
phenomena. The third point is that made regarding the 
okapi, if this be not a newspaper yarn. Here we have stated 
the fact that phenomena can exist in our very midst in great 
numbers and be so neglected as to appear non-existent to the 
sceptical and indolent mind. If these points have any value 
in estimating the evidence for the existence of sea serpents 

232 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

they have an a fortiori cogency in favor of the claims for psy- 
chic research, because the alleged evidence for them is with- 
out comparison greater in quantity than that for seaserpents. 


Dr. Raphael Blanchard's proposal that the Government 
of Cochin China should promptly fit out an expedition to 
hunt and investigate sea-serpents, has been spoken of as " the 
first sea-serpent story of this year,'* on the assumption that 
the sea-serpent story is an annually recurring bit of harmless 
imagination, like the failure of the peach-crop and the 
Thanksgiving-turkey famine. As a matter of fact, however, 
it is becoming less easy to dismiss the sea-serpent in this 
simple way. Uncouth and terrifying creature that he is, he 
has made great progress in the last few years toward recog- 
nition by scientific men and a respectable place among clas- 
sified creatures. 

In the first place, it should be noted that the popular 
belief, such as it is, in a sea-serpent has no standing whatso- 
ever. If there be any sea-serpents at all, there are a good 
many; in other words, this is a species like the whale, but 
rarer. It may not be generally known that the monster has 
already been dignified by Latin generic and specific names in 
due form, Megopliias viagophias. Since M. Oudemans pro- 
posed that name, the creature certainly has ceased to be a 
scientific outcast. What, then, are the evidences of its ex- 
istence ? 

In the first place, a biologist who compared the sailors' 
yarns published in all languages for four hundred years, 
found such a striking agreement on certain points, like the 
shape of the head and the method of swimming, that he could 
draw an accurate composite picture of the beast as a basis for 
his description. The hypothetical Mcgophias may be roughly 
described as a four-flipped, bottle-shaped creature, smooth- 
skinned, but with a sort of mane or crest down the long neck, 
and a compact head rather like a seal's. Its range of size 
appears to correspond roiighly to that of the whales. Very 

Editorial. 233 

soon after these conclusions were published, the most circum- 
stantial sea-serpent stories yet heard began to come from 
Tonkin. The French gunboat Avalanche, commanded by 
Lieut. Lagresille, in July, 1897, sighted two strange creatures 
in the Bay of Fai-tsi-long. Their size he estimated at sixty 
metres long by two or three in diameter. When he fired at 
them at a range of 600 metres they dove and did not come 
into sight again. On Feburary 15, 1898, the same vessel 
sighted another pair of similar creatures, and made chase for 
an hour and a half, giving up, as the gallant lieutenant put it, 
because the sea-serpent had " greater endurance than the 
Avalanche." Less than a month later, when the Avalanche 
had on board some officers of the Bayard, the interesting 
swimming creatures were sighted a third time and pursued 
up to a closer range than on any of the previous occasions. 
While it might be objected that a group of naval officers 
engaged in entertaining their brethren from another ship do 
not make ideal scientific observers, it is recorded that ob- 
servers on a third vessel, the Decidee, sighted the timorous 
monsters in the same waters no longer ago than the spring 
of 1904. 

One does not have to accept the conclusion of the scien- 
tist, M. Racovitza, who read a paper not long ago before the 
French Zoological Society, that the sea-serpent is not only 
existent but comparatively common in the Bay of Along, to 
agree that the stories thus far collected suggest some ex- 
tremely interesting possibilities. There was certainly a time 
when the sea swarmed with creatures which we should now 
call sea-serpents. Have any of them survived? That, of 
course, is the whole question; but it must be remembered 
that the garpike, substantially as he swims today, was an old 
and established resident of the earth when the icthyosaurus 
first raised his head above the water, just as the surviving 
Australian duck-bill belongs to a very much older type than 
the extinct mastodon or sabre-toothed tiger. Zoologists 
scouted the Kraken myth until they actually found huge cut- 
tlefishes that were quite as satisfying to the appetite for 

It may be true that neither a competent scientist nor a 

234 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

man with a preestablished reputation for accuracy and ver- 
acity has ever seen a sea-serpent. Kipling tells a tale of three 
modern journalists who arc granted a glimpse of the " blind 
white sea-snake " in mid-ocean and fairly lacked the nerve to 
write their amazing experience. But it is not in the least 
remarkable, even granting the essential truth of the sea- 
serpent stories, that men of the right sort have never been on 
the spot. We have postulated here an exceedingly rare and 
elusive animal, scattered over enormous areas in the less- 
frequented oceans. On the mere theory of probabilities, the 
chance of any ship meeting one of them is exceedingly small. 
Scientists do not go to sea,, and the only observations made at 
all are set down, discredited in advance, in the log-books of 
ignorant and yarn-spinning skippers. 

This morning's dispatches bring the news of the first cap- 
ture of a live okapi in Africa, and in this occurrence a certain 
parallel may be seen. Here was a large species of striking 
appearance, whose habitat was in a populous and much- 
hunted continent, yet its existence was not so much as sus- 
pected till Sir Harry Johnson found a dead one, some five 
years ago. The skull and skin of the sea-serpent may con- 
ceivably be the next museum prize. Yet in the absence of 
such material trophies we fear the proposed expedition will 
need to carry an international board of scrupulous veracity, 
composed, say, of President Eliot, Marquis Oyama, and Mr. 
Roosevelt, to secure acceptance of its conclusions, if it only 
sights the quarry. 

Treasurer's Report 235 


The following is the Treasurer's Report for the quarter 
beginning December ist, 1906, and ending March 5th, 1907: 


Grant from the American Institute $1,800.00 


Publications $750.51 

Investigations 308.55 

Salaries 425.00 

Publications of Old Am. S. P. R., Records, 

etc 299.65 

Postage stamps 100.00 

Sundries 180.59 

Total $2,064.30 

The item representing " Publications of the Old S. P. R." 
can be treated as an asset and the amount will ultimately be 
recovered from sales. Salaries represent the sums paid to 
the two Assistants in the work. There were about $256 in 
bank when the grant was made, so that receipts and ex- 
penses nearly balance. 

Secretary and Treasurer. 

236 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 


Dessoir, Prof. Max, W. Goltzatrasse, 31 Berlin, Germany. (Hon- 
orary Fellow.) 

Janet, Prof. Pierre, College de France, Paris, France. (Hon- 
orary Fellow.) 

Moore, Harry L, 804 State St., Erie, Pa. 


Edwards, Mrs. Edward, Weston, W. Va. 

Larkin, Charles H., 137 Hodge Ave., Buffalo, N. Y. 

Larkin, John D. Jr., care Larkin Company, Buffalo, N. Y. 

Lyon, Rev. Yale, Hoosac, N. Y. 

Scott, Henry P., 902 Market Street, Wilmington, Delaware. 

Scott, Mrs. William C, Ardmore, Pa. 

Smith, Wilbur L., D. O., Loan & Trust Bldg., Washington, D. C. 

Wallis, Lee N., Anadarko, Okla. 

Walker, Miss Florence, 70 Gore Street, Montclair, N. J. 

Wilson, Floyd B., 30 Broad St., New York City. 


Blydenburgh, Miss Florence E., 122 Park Place, Brooklyn, N. Y. 
Clapp, Mrs. Emma A., 3941 Ellis Ave., Chicago, 111. 
Clifford. Mrs. Nt.llie Cabot, 18 Tremont Street, Boston, Mass. 
Johnson, Mrs. Arthur M., Corcoran Manor, Mt. Vernon, N. Y. 
lones, Mrs. Jennie F., Martinez, Contra Costa County, Cal. 

ce E, Ombra, Via Cappuccini, 18, Milano, Italy. 
Vtanger, Marct?!. 102 Rue Erlanger, Paris, France. 
laiikelU C. G.. f>3 Linwood Ave., Buffalo, N. Y. 

^1 WtlHani, 3053 i6th St., Washington, D. C. 

JaiHt E., Rosemary Hall, Greenwich, Conn. 

^i3 10 49th Street, Borough Park, Brooklyn, N. Y. 
!., 186 West Madison St., Chicago, 111. 
(\., 130 Lawton Ave., Oakland, Cal. 

Vol. I.— No. 5. May, 1907. 



Aflierican Society for Psychical Research 


Gbobal Akticlbs: paob 

Hjpotlwsis Conoerainff Soul Substance 
Together with Experimental £▼!• 
dcnoe of the Existence ci Such Sub- 
stance ----.-- 237 

Spirit SUte-writin« aiid Billet Testa • 244 

Edxtokial : paob 

Making of Records 2S5 

Weiffhinff the Soul 259 

iMCXDBirrs -------261 


On Dr. MacDouvall^s Experimeiita - 276 
Book Noticbs Z83 


By Duncan MacDougall, M. D. 

If personal continuity after the event of bodily death is a 
fact, if the psychic functions continue to exist as a separate 
individuality or personality after the death of brain and body, 
then such personality can only exist as a space occupying 
body, unless the relations between space objective, and space 
notions in our consciousness, established in our consciousness 
by heredity and experience, are entirely wiped out at death 
and a new set of relations between space and consciousness 
suddenly established in the continuing personality, which 
would be such a breach in the continuity of nature that I 
can not imagine it. 

It is unthinkable that personality and consciousness con- 
tinuing personal identity should exist, and have being, and 
yet not occupy space. It is impossible to represent in 
thought that which is not space occupying, as having per- 
sonality, for that would be equivalent to thinking that noth- 
ing had become or was something, that emptiness had per- 

*This article is published simultaneously in American Medicine. 

240 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

balance. Inspiration and expiration of air as forcibly as pos- 
sible by me had no effect upon the beam. My colleague got 
upon the bed and I placed the beam at balance. Forcible in- 
spiration and expiration of air on his part had no effect. In 
this case we certainly have an inexplicable loss of weight of 
three-fourths of an ounce. Is it the soul substance? How 
else shall we explain it ? 

My second patient was a man moribund from consump- 
tion. He was on the bed about four hours and fifteen min- 
utes under observation before death. The first four hours 
he lost weight at the rate of three-fourths of an ounce per 
hour. He had much slower respiration than the first case, 
which accounted for the difference in loss of weight from 
evaporation and respiratory moisture. 

The last fifteen minutes he had ceased to breathe but his 
facial muscles still moved convulsively, and then, coinciding 
with the last movement of the facial muscle, the beam drop- 
ped. The weight lost was found to be half an ounce. Then 
my colleague auscultated the heart and found it ^topped. I 
tried again and the loss was one ounce and a half and fifty 
grains. In the eighteen minutes that elapsed between the 
time he ceased breathing until we were certain of death, there 
was a weight loss of one and one-half ounces and fifty grains, 
compared with a loss of three ounces during a period of four 
hours during which time the ordinary channels of loss were 
at work. No bowel movement took place. The bladder 
moved but the urine remained upon the bed and could not 
have evaporated enough through the thick bed clothing to 
have influenced the result. 

The beam at the end of eighteen minutes of doubt was 
placed again with the end in slight contact with the upper bar 
and watched for forty minutes but no further loss took place. 

My scales were sensitive to two-tenths of an ounce. If 
placed at balance one-tenth of an ounce would lift the beam 
up close to the upper limiting bar, another one-tenth ounce 
would bring it up and keep it in direct contact, then if the 
two-tenth were removed the beam would drop to the lower 
bar and then slowly oscillate till balance was reached again. 

This patient was of a totally different temperament from 

Hypothesis Concerning Soul Substance. 241 

the first, his death was very gradual, so that we had great 
doubt from the ordinary evidence to say just what moment 
he died. 

My third case, a man dying of tuberculosis, showed a 
weight of half an ounce lost, coincident with death, and an 
additional loss of one ounce a few minutes later. 

In the fourth case, a woman dying of diabetic coma, unfor- 
tunately our scales were not finely adjusted and there was a 
good deal of interference by people opposed to our work, 
and although at death the beam sunk so that it required from 
three-eighths to one-half ounce to bring it back to the point 
preceding death, yet I regard this test as of no value. 

With my fifth case, a man dying of tuberculosis, showed a 
distinct drop in the beam requiring about three-eighths of 
an ounce which could not be accounted for. This occurred 
exactly simultaneously with death but peculiarly on bring- 
ing the beam up again with weights and later removing 
them, the beam did not sink back to stay back for fully fif- 
teen minutes. It was impossible to account for the three- 
eighth of an ounce drop, it was so sudden and distinct, the 
beam hitting the lower bar with as great a noise as in the 
first case. Our scales in the case were very sensitively bal- 

My sixth and last case was not a fair test. The patient 
died almost within five minutes after being placed upon the 
bed and died while I was adjusting the beam. 

In my communication to Dr. Hodgson I note that I have 
said there was no loss of weight. It should have been added 
that there was no loss of weight that we were justified in 

My notes taken at the time of experiment show a loss of 
one and one-half ounces, but in addition it should have been 
said the experiment was so hurried, jarring of the scales had 
not wholly ceased and the apparent weight loss one and one- 
half ounces, might have been due to accidental shifting of 
the sliding weight on the beam. This could not have been 
true of the other tests, no one of them was done hurriedly. 

My sixth case I regard as of no value from this cause. 
The same experiments were carried out on fifteen dogs, sur- 

242 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

rounded by every precaution to obtain accuracy and the re- 
sults were uniformly negative; no loss of weight at death. 
A loss of weight takes place about twenty to thirty minutes 
after death which is due to the evaporation of the urine nor- 
mally passed, and which is duplicated by evaporation of the 
same amount of water on the scales, every other condition 
being the same, e. g, temperature of the room, except the 
presence of the dog's body. 

The dogs experimented on weighed from fifteen to sev- 
enty pounds and the scales with the total weight upon them 
were sensitive to one-sixteenth of an ounce. The tests on 
dogs were vitiated by the use of two drugs administered to 
secure the necessary quiet and freedom from struggle so 
necessary to keep the beam at balance. 

The ideal test on dogs would be obtained in those dying 
from some disease that rendered them much exhausted and 
incapable of struggle. It was not my fortune to get dogs 
dying from such sickness. 

The net result of the experiments conducted on human 
beings is that a loss of substance occurs at death not ac- 
counted for by known channels of loss. Is it the soul sub- 
stance? It w^uld seem to me to be so. According to our 
hypothesis such a substance is necessary to the assumption 
of continuing or persisting personality after bodily death, 
and here we have experimental demonstration that a sub- 
stance capable of being w^eighed does leave the human body 
at death. 

If this substance is a counterpart of the physical body, has 
the same bulk, occupies the same dimensions in space, then 
it is a very much lighter substance than the atmosphere sur- 
rounding our earth which weighs about one and one-fourth 
ounces per cubic foot. This would be a fact of great sig- 
nificance, as such a body would readily ascend in our atmos- 
phere. The absense of a weighable mass leaving the body 
at death would of course be no argument against continuing 
personality, for a space occupying body or substance might 
exist not capable of being weighed, such as the ether. 

It has been suggested that the ether might be that sub- 
stance, but with the modern conception of science that the 

Hypothesis Coftcerning Said Substance. 243 

ether is the primary form of all substance, that all other 
forms of matter are merely differentiations of the ether hav- 
ing varying densities, then it seems to me that soul substance 
which in this life must be linked organically with the body, 
can not be identical with the ether. Moreover, the ether is 
supposed to be non-discontinuous, a continuous whole and 
not capable of existing in separate masses as ether, whereas 
the one prime requisite for a continuing personality or indi- 
viduality is the quality of separateness, the ego as separate 
and distinct from all things else, the non-ego. 

To my mind therefore the soul substance can not be the 
ether as ether, but if the theory that ether is the primary 
form of all substance is true, then the soul substance must 
necessarily be a differentiated form of it. 

If it is definitely proven that there is in the human being a 
loss of substance at death not accounted for by known chan- 
nels of loss, and that such loss of substance does not occur 
in the dog as my experiments would seem to show, then we 
have here a physiological difference between the human and 
the canine at least and probably between the human and all 
other forms of animal life. 

I am aware that a large number of experiments would re- 
quire to be made before the matter can be proven beyond 
any possibility of error ,^ut y, fj|jther and sufficient experi- 
mentation proves that there is a loss of substance occurring 
at death and not accounted for by known channels of loss, 
the establishment of such a truth can not fail to be of the 
utmost importance. 

One ounce of fact more or less will have more weight in 
demonstrating the truth of the reality of continued existence 
with the necessary basis of substance to rest upon, than all 
the hair splitting theories of theologians and metaphysicians 

If other experiments by other experimenters prove that 
there is a loss of weight occurring at death, not accounted 
for by known channels of loss, we must either admit the the- 
ory that it is the hypothetical soul substance, or some other 
explanation of the phenomenon should be forthcoming. If 
proven true, the materialistic conception will have been fully 

244 ' Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 

met, and proof of the substantial basis for mind or spirit or 
soul continuing after the death of the body, insisted upon as 
necessary by the materialists, will have been furnished. 

It will prove also that the spiritualistic conception of the 
immateriality of the soul was wrong. The postulates of 
religious creeds have not been a positive and final settlement 
of the question. 

The theories of all the philosophers and all the philoso- 
phies offer no final solution of the problem of continued per- 
sonality after bodily death. This fact alone of a space occu- 
pying body of measureable weight disappearing at death, if 
verified, furnishes the substantial basis for persisting per- 
sonality or a conscious ego surviving the act of bodily death, 
and in the element of certainty is worth more than the postu- 
altes of all the creeds and all the metaphysical arguments 

In the year 1854 Rudolph Wagner, the physiologist, at 
the Gottingen Congress of Physiologists proposed a discus- 
sion of a " Special Soul Substance," the challenge was ac- 
cepted, but no discussion followed, and among the five hun- 
dred voices present not one was raised in defence of a spir- 
itualistic philosophy. Have we found Wagner's soul sub- 
stance ? 

By David P. Abbott. 


[All rights reserved.] 


This trick, which we mean now to describe, depends upon the 
" s^vitch " of slates mentioned in the previous article. I tell my 
subject to take a seat near a small table, and meanwhile I have 
two slates in my hands as above described. The message is 
already prepared on the under side of the slate held in the left 

The message is written in such manner that the left index 
finger does not erase it while holding the slate. 1 carelessly hand 

spirit Slate-Writing and Billet Tests. 245 

the spectator the slate in my right hand, with the request that 
he " examine this slate on both sides." I do not tell him what 
I intend doing in any manner; and although I hold the other 
slate in my left hand, I say nothing about intending to use it. 
I merely say to him, "Examine this slate, will you, please?" 
handing him the one in the right hand. Just at the instant that 
he is through with it, I take it from him with my right hand ; and 
at that very instant I remark, " I must use a chair in this experi- 
ment." At the same time I direct my gaze to a chair on my 
right that is slightly out of reach, and say, " I will use that." 
The subject can not help glancing at the chair as I say this, and 
at that very instant the " switch " is made. Having made the 
change of slates I instantly hand him the slate in my left hand 
before getting the chair, saying, " examine that slate also." As 
T say this I lay the slate in my right hand on the table in front of 
him — ^but some distance away from him. This slate was the one 
before held by my left hand and the message is on its under sur- 
face. The slate the subject is examining is the same one he 
f'xamined in the first place. 

I quickly get the chair, keeping my eye on the subject to see 
that he gives his attention to the slate in his hands ; and instantly 
taking my seat opposite him, I quickly take the slate from him, 
sajring, " I will now place this slate on top of this one." As I 
say this I lower his'slate over the one on the table, and place my 
palms on my end of them requesting him to do the same at his 
end of them. All of this, which it takes so long to describe, does 
not require half a minute to execute. 

After a time I lift off the top slate and look for a message 
between them. I do not turn the top slate over, although there 
is nothing on its lower side ; but I merely look on the upper sur- 
face of the lower slate. As I do this I have the top slate in my 
right hand by its right edge, and I have pi<jked up the other by 
its left edge with my left hand, and raised It about an inch from" 
the table. As I remark, "There is nothing on that slate," I 
bring the two slates again together. But this time I bring the 
slate in my right hand wider the one in my left hand. 

It is merely passed under it as I bring the hands together and 
this fact is not noticed by the spectator. In fact, in the first 
place, as I lift off the top slate with my right hand, my left grasps 
the lower slate so soon after the right hand grasps the top slate 
that the top slate is not more than an inch removed to the right, 
before the left hand has the lower slate and the two are sepa- 
rated ; that is the left hand moves to the left as much as the right 
hand does to the right, and neither hand is lifted more than an 
inch or two from the table. 

I remark, " There is nothing on that slate," instantly passing 
the right slate under and die left slate over, bringing the hands 

246 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

together. If the move be made as just described, the subject will 
never notice that the slate which was the top one in the first 
place, is now the bottom one, and vice versa. 

We replace the palms and wait a few moments, when I again 
separate the slates exactly as I did in the first place. The mes- 
sage is now on the under side of the upper slate, and can not be 
seen as I do not turn this slate over. I make the remark, " No 
message yet," as if surprised and dissatisfied; and I bring the 
two hands together again as in the first instance, except that this 
time / leave the message slate on top. 

I do not place the slates on the table flat; but up-edge them 
instead, and pinch them tightly together with my left fingers; 
while with my right hand I take from my right vest pocket a 
small piece of slate pencil. I remark, " Maybe if we had a pencil 
we would get something; and separating the slates the slightest 
bit at the top with my left hand, I drop the piece of pencil 
between them with my right hand, quickly closing the slight 

I now lay the slates flat on the table ; but this time / lay them 
.^0 that they are turned over, or so that the message slate is now under- 
neath with the message on its upper surface. We instantly replace 
our palms on the upper slate. Now all of this maneuvering has 
been for th£ purpose of bringing the message slate to the bottom, mes- 
sage side upwards; and also, for shozving the sitter the upper surface 
of the lower slate repeatedly, and always free from writing. This 
greatly enhances the after eflFect of the trick. I, of course, do 
not tell him why I am thus maneuvering, in fact, he does not 
know I am maneuvering, and afterwards merely remembers 
my separating the slates and looking on the upper surface 
of the lower one repeatedly, but finding nothing. As a re- 
sult, when next we look at the slates, he is deeply impressed 
on finding a message where but an instant before there was none. 
I do not separate the slates this time myself, but merely remove 
my palms and ask him to examine them. 

A subject's memory is so poor at recalling little details, that 
all he can remember afterwards is that he examined both of the 
slates, that they never left his sight, and that he repeatedly 
looked at them and saw no message; that finally, on separating 
them, he found a message where but an instant before there was 

The reader at first sight might not give to all this maneuver- 

the proper importance, and might consider the trick per- 

ed when the slates are first examined and placed on the 

^ but T will say that this subsequent maneuvering is what 

this trick the superb effect which it is, and makes it really 

the best of slate tricks for a single spectator. 

reader will please remember the moves just described 

spirit Slate-Writing and Billet Tests. 247 

which I execute after the exchange of the slates, and after I lay 
the slates on the table one on top of the other. These moves 
are the closing part of the trick which I shall next describe, and 
which I made mention of in Part II of this article. 


I shall now refer the reader to the trick described in Part II, 
wherein nine small slates and one large slate is used. In this 
trick I use the same slates, but the modus operandi is somewhat 

I do not enter with the eight small slates on top of the large 
slate as in the trick described in Part II ; but I have the slates 
arranged after the following manner: The nine small slates are 
stacked one on the other, with the message slate on top, message 
side down. On top of this stack is the large slate. 

I enter with these and place them on the table directly in front 
of the sitter. I stand at his left and with my left hand I remove 
the large slate from the stack, carrying under it secretly the top 
small slate. This small slate bears the message; so I tilt the 
top surface of the large slate towards the spectator so as to 
prevent his seeing the concealed slate, which my left fingers 
press tightly against the far side of the large slate. With my 
right hand I now give the sitter the stack of eight small slates, 
telling him to place them in his lap, clean them one at a time, 
and stack them on the table in front of himself. 

As I thus direct him, my left hand still holds the large slate 
a few inches above the table top and a few inches farther from 
the subject than the position where I first placed the slates. I 
now state that while he cleans his slates, I will write on the large 
slate any mental impression which I may receive. I allow the 
lower edge of the large slate to rest on the table, and taking a 
pencil in my right hand I proceed to write some name. I try to 
write one that the sitter will recognize ; but if unable to do so, it 
makes no difference. Meanwhile, I see to it that, while I am 
writing, the sitter continues to clean and stack the slates in front 
of himself. 

I time my writing so as to finish the name just as he cleans 
and stacks the fourth slate. At this instant I bring the large 
slate directly in front of him (and right over the stack he is form- 
ing), and pointing to the name I have written I say: " Do you 
recognize that name?" This takes his attention; and at that 
instant I allow the concealed message slate behind the large one 
to secretly drop upon the stack from under the large slate. The 
large slate is resting with its forward edge on the front edge of 
the stack, and its rear edge elevated some thirty degrees, when I 
execute this maneuver. 

248 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

The subject proceeds to read the name; and if he happens to 
recognize it, I give him a verbal reading while he continues to 
clean and stack the remaining slates. If he does not recognize 
the name, I instruct him to go ahead ; as my " impressions do not 
seem to come readily, owing to improper conditions." 

Just as he stacks the last slate, I take the stack in my hands 
like a pack of cards and spread them out quickly, fan- wise, just 
as a person playing cards does the cards which he holds. I, 
however, keep them in a horizontal position near the table. 

Now, if the message slate be the fifth one down from the top, 
I allow the fourth one to remain on top of it in such position that 
the edges of the two slates coincide. All of the slates are 
spread except these two, which accidentally (?) remain as if 
fastened together. I now with my fingers secretly push these 
two forward a good inch, in advance of the other slates, and 
direct the sitter to " take two of these slates." As he starts to 
obey, I push these two right into his hands ; and just as he draws 
them out, I remark, " Any two that you wish." I really " force " 
these two slates, just as a magician " forces " the selection of a 
desired card. 

As the subject draws the two slates, I instantly tell him to 
lay them on the table, which he does. The message is on the 
under side of the lower slate, and I see to it that they are not 
turned over. I now close the trick with the same maneuvers I 
use in closing the trick which I described in the previous section. 
The effect is beyond description ; as the sitter thinks he has just 
cleaned all of the small slates, and that he of his own free will 
chooses two of them at random ; that of these two, we repeatedly 
look on the upper surface of the lower one for a message, finding 
none ; and then, suddenly, without these slates leaving his sight, 
he finds a message on the upper surface of the lower slate. 


I shall here describe a means of secretly reading a question 
written on a slate by a sitter. The performer uses nine small 
slates and one large one as in the preceding trick. The slates are 
brought in and placed on the table in front of the sitter, and the 
operator takes his seat opposite to him at the table. 

The operator now takes up the large slate from the stack and 
secretly takes a small slate underneath it, as in the slate-writing 
trick. There is no message on any of the slates and they are all 
perfectly clean. The operator begins figuring in small figures, 
or hieroglyphics, on the upper portion of the large slate. This 
is a mere excuse for taking up the large slate. 

As he does this he requests the sitter to take a small slate and 
write thereon such questions as he may desire answered and to 

spirit Slate-lVriting and Billet Tests. 249 

sign his own name thereto. This the sitter does ; and as he faces 
the operator and holds the slate in front of his face, vertically, the 
operator can not see his writing. While the subject writes his 
questions, the operator takes the stack of small slates with his 
right hand and places them in his lap. As he does this he retains 
the large slate in his other hand with the concealed small slate 
behind it. 

When the subject has finished his writing, the operator 
directs him to place his slate face downward on the table. This 
he does. The operator now asks, " What was your birth month, 
please?" or some similar question, and appears to make some 
kind of a mark on his large slate. He then, with his other hand, 
takes the slate on the table which contains the questions on its 
lower side, and places it face downward on the stack in his lap 
without in any way looking at it. He now places the large slate on 
the stack, and places his palms on it for a moment while he gives 
a few verbal impressions to the sitter. 

He now takes up the large top slate in one hand, but does not 
this time carry up a concealed slate behind it. The subject nat- 
urally supposes that the top slate of the small ones is the one 
bearing the questions ; but it is not, for the reason that when the 
operator placed the large slate on the stack just after placing the 
/question slate on it, he of course placed the concealed small slate 
on the stack at the same time. The question slate is therefore 
the second slate from the top instead of the top one. 

The operator now lifts off the top small slate with the other 
hand face downwards, and places it on the table without looking 
at its under surface. The subject supposes that his questions 
are on its under surface, but they are instead on the under sur- 
face of the top small slate of the stack. 

The operator now places over the slate on the table a news- 
paper which is at hand, at the same time laying down on the stack 
in his lap the large slate in his other hand. He now requests 
the sitter to place his hand on top of the newspaper which rests 
on the slate that he supposes bears his questions. The operator 
requests him to close his hand tightly and allow his fist to rest 
on the paper as " this makes the magnetism better." This pre- 
vents the subject from lifting up the slate and examining it 
which sometimes happens if such precautions be not taken. 

The operator now takes up the large slate again from the 
stack in his lap and appears to again figure in its top corner. He, 
of course, secretly carries up behind it the slate with the sub- 
ject's questions on it. While appearing to figure, he quickly 
reads and memorizes these questions and names. He now asks 
the subject to remove his hand, and he quickly takes the small 
slate under the paper on the table and replaces it on the stack, at 
the same time placing the large slate in his other hand on top ot 

250 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

it. This secretly places the question slate on top of all the small 
slates, just as it should be, and as the subject has supposed it to 
be all of the time. 

The operator now asks some other question of the sitter, as, 
" What star were you born under?" or something of the kind and 
makes a few hieroglyphics on the large slate ; and then he places 
the entire stack on the table, requesting the sitter to clean the 
slates. The sitter does so, and of course finds his questions on 
the under surface of the upper small slate as it should be. The 
operator requests the subject not to let him see the writing, and 
now proceeds with the reading. He can give a fine verbal read- 
ing with the information he now possesses, or he can produce a 
message, as I have before described, wherein a stack of slates is 
used and the message written in the subject's presence. 

It is thus easy for an expert performer to sit down to a table 
and have the subject write his questions in the operator's pres- 
ence, to write the answers in the sitter's presence, to do all before 
his very eyes and yet not be detected in any of it, as the secret is 
so subtle. Such performer must, however, be an actor and a 
master of the art of " misdirection." 


There is another trick that is very effective, wherein two 
slates are used. I shall give the explanation and effect together 
in this case. 

I have the message prepared on one of the slates, and I use 
a small centre table, such as has a shelf attached to the legs about 
a foot above the floor. I lean the prepared slate on the floor 
against this shelf, and out of view on the side of the table oppo- 
site where the subject is to sit. I have a chair near that side of 
the table on which I will later take my seat. 

On the centre of the table a number of newspapers lie care- 
lessly. I place a chair near the side of the table where I desire 
the spectator to sit. I now seat him on this chair and stepping to 
a drawer, I bring him a small slate with bound edges ; one that 
looks just like the one containing the message. I ask him to 
thoroughly examine or clean it ; and as he does so, I seat myself 
at the opposite side of the table. I now request him to place his 
slate flat on the table, and to place his palms on it. I then re- 
quest him to rest his face on his hands while they lie on the slate 
for a half minute, and to close his eyes and make his mind passive 
while so doing. 

While he does this I secretly reach to the floor, lift the mes- 
sage slate and lay it flat on my knees under the table, message 
side up. I now place my palms on the table and in a few mo- 
nents ask the subject to examine his slate for a message. He. 
)f course, finds none; and I seem disappointed at this, but re- 

spirit Slate-tVriting and Billet Tests. 251 

quest him to hold it for a time on the table and try again. This 
all lends an air of great honesty to the performance, and tends 
to throw the subject off his guard. On examining the slate again 
he finds nothing, so I take the slate from his hands and examine 
it to see if there actually be no sig^ of writing. Finding noth- 
ing, I place the slate under the table near the centre, with my 
right hand, in a rather hurried manner; and I request him to 
reach his right hand under the table and grasp the slate and to 
press it to the table above it. I tell him to leave his left palm on 
the table ; and I take his attention sufficiently in telling him how 
to place his left palm on the table, that it prevents him from 
looking under the table in any manner. I immediately bring out 
my right hand, leaving him holding the slate with his one hand. 

I suppose that it is hardly necessary to state that as I lower 
my right hand with the examined slate below the table, I leave 
this slate on my lap and instantly, without pause, carry up under 
the table the prepared slate which is on my knees. 

Now, that the subject is holding the message slate in proper 
position with his other palm on top of the table, I make a move 
as if to place my right hand on the centre of the table. Mean- 
while my left hand has dropped out of sight, apparently, by my 
side, I seem annoyed by the newspapers in the centre of the 
table, and remark, " I will clear these out of the way." As I say 
this I take a number of them in my right hand and pass them 
to my left hand, which comes up near the height of the table top 
to meet my right ; but it secretly contains the slate which was 
left on my lap. The papers in my right hand are moved towards 
my left hand so as to conceal this slate, and my left hand grasps 
them on top of the slate which it contains. The left hand should 
not be high enough for the back edge of the slate to be in view 
of the sitter, until after the papers are passed over it and grasped 
on top of the slate. As I make this move I am rising from the 
chair; and with my right hand I pick up the remaining papers 
and pass them also to my left hand, but this time I pass them under- 
neath the others; so that the slate is now between the papers in my 
left hand. At the same time I take hold of my chair with my 
right hand and set it back out of my way. 

I now quickly place the papers on a table just through a fold- 
ing door and secretly place the discarded slate in a concealed 
position. I do this very quickly and return ; but meanwhile I am 
mtructing the sitter how to press his right hand to the table with the 
Ungers spread apart, but with thumb contacting the first finger, etc. I 
keep my eyes on him except for an instant, and take his attention 
so that there is no danger of his examining the slate the mere 
instant I am out of view. I instantly return to the table, stand- 
ing this time, and placing my palms on each side of his. In due 
time he brings out his slate and finds the message. 

252 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

Should he examine the table nothing can be found, neither 
can anything be found on my person. This trick is very effect- 
ive; and the sitter usually forgets that I placed the slate under 
the table for him, and states afterwards that the slate never left 
his hands after he cleaned it. 

When I place the slate under the table in the first place, I 
remark, " Maybe if the slate is under the table we will get some- 
thing ; " at the same instant placing it under in a natural manner, 
and requesting him to pass his right hand under the table and 
grasp it. I make no pause in changing the slates on my lap, and 
the use of slates with bound edges prevents all noise. 

This trick may seem difficult to the reader, but I assure him 
that it is very simple. It only requires that the details be well 
fixed in the mind of the operator, and that he have ample courage 
to try it and direct all operations himself. He must be perfectly 
at home and not in the least embarrassed, and must ^ct with per- 
fect self-confidence. 


I shall now describe one of the best slate tricks extant. In 
this trick I never leave the sight of the sitter at all. I seat him 
at one side of the table, but sidewise to it, so that his left side 
faces the table. On the table are two unbound slates, size five by 
seven inches. I ask him to thoroughly examine and clean them ; 
and as he does so I take a seat at the opposite side of the table 
but sidewise to it, so that my right side is toward the table. The 
subject and myself are thus both facing the same direction. 

After he finishes cleaning the first slate and begins cleaning 
the second slate, and just before he finishes cleaning it, I take the 
first slate cleaned in my right hand, instantly passing it under 
the table. At this same instant I direct him to place the other 
slate under the table with his right hand, and also, to grasp my 
slate with his left hand. This he does and I instantly withdraw 
my right hand, placing both hands on the table top. In due 
time the sitter brings out the slates and finds on one of them a 
lengthy message. The table and my person can be examined; 
but no third slate, or anything suspicious can be found. My 
right hand grasps the slate in placing it under the table for the 
merest instant only, and is immediately thereafter placed on the 
table top; while the sitter grasps the slate with his left hand. 
The sitter during the time he waits for the message, naturally 
turns facing the table, and at the same time presses a slate under- 
neath the table top with each of his hands. I also gradually turn, 
facing the table, with my palms on its top. 

The effect of this trick is very bewildering, yet the secret is 
mpHcity itself. I use three slates instead of two, but the sub- 
ct sees but two of them at one time. When I place the first 

spirit Slate- Writing and Billet Tests, 253 

slate under the table, I of course make an exchange of slates un- 
known to the sitter. Where do I find the ^prepared slate, and 
where do I leave the duplicate? Merely in the chair I sit on, 
under the seat, on two little padded shelves. The chair is of the 
variety known as " box seat," such as is sold by most furniture 
dealers as a good grade dining chair. The seat is usually of 
cane ; but this I remove, and replace it with a beautiful leather 
cobbler seat. It is necessary to saw the opening in the seat of 
the chair into a circular shape for this. 

The cobbler seat hides from view anything under the chair 
seat, and at the same time gives the chair a much finer appear- 
ance. I, of course, prepare the chair which the subject uses in 
the same manner ; but I also make some changes under the seat 
of the chair I use, which of course, I omit from the subject's 
chair. The box strips running around the seat of the chair 
under it are about two inches wide. The strip on the right side 
I hang on hinges so that it can be lifted like a trap door, thus ad- 
mitting my hand to two thin padded shelves under the seat. 
When this strip is lowered the shelves are invisible ; but when it 
is up they can be seen from that side of the chair, and the right 
hand can reach them easily in this position. 

In preparing the chair I first take a fine-tooth saw, and neatly 
saw the ends of this strip where they enter the legs of the chair, 
so as to sever their connection with the legs. This is done so 
neatly that it can not be noticed. I next remove the screw on 
the inner side of the centre of this strip which fastens it to the 
seat, and remove the strip. This strip is too thick for my use ; so 
I split it lengthwise with a saw, leaving it but one-half inch 
thick. I of course leave it full width. I am careful in no way to 
mar the finish. 

I now hinge this strip back into its original position, using 
three small brass hinges at its top. I countersink the hinges so 
that they will not show. If they be screwed on a trifle out of line 
so that the strip works a little stiffly, it will remain in an ele- 
vated position when lifted by the right hand until it again be 
lowered. As the strip is now but one-half inch thick, when it is 
in the elevated position, it does not obstruct access to the shelves, 
which must be crowded into a very limited space. These shelves 
are made of very thin wood covered with black felt, and are 
placed on suitable blocks, and screwed to the bottom of the chair 

I place the prepared slate on the lower shelf of this chair, 
message side up. This chair, as before explained, is placed with 
its right side next to the table. The table prevents the spectator 
seeing this portion of the chair and the lower portion of my per- 
son. When he begins to clean the first slate, I raise the side trap 
with my right hand ; and when I bring the first slate below the 

254 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

table top to plkce it under the table, I quietly slip the unprepared 
slate upon the top shelf, quickly drawing out the message slate 
from the lower shelf and placing it under the table next to the 
table top. At the same instant, with the left hand, I lower the 
side strip and partly turn my person so as to face the table. At 
this instant I am directing the subject to place his slate under 
the table and also to grasp my slate with his hand, which takes 
his attention completely; and I quickly remove my hand to the 
table top. 

After the experiment the subject seldom remembers that I 
placed one of the slates under the table myself, and he usually 
states when relating his experience to others, that he cleaned and 
placed the slates under the table himself and that I never in any 
way touched them. 

After the experiment I usually turn the table over that he may 
see there is no trickery, and even offer my person for examina- 
tion. No one has ever yet suspected the chair. 

When performing for a company, I seat the company in an 
adjoining parlor, and place the sitter and table just through the 
folding doors. I also use a drape on the table, which with the 
sitter's person, hides my chair seat and my right hand from the 
view of the spectators.* 

* The reader is referred to the author's article, " Mediumistic Reading of 
Sealed Writings," in the Open Court of April, 1906, for an excellent method 
of working this trick. 

(To be continued.) 

Editorial. 255 



At the last meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Ameri- 
can Institute for Scientific Research a resolution was passed 
to the effect that arrangements should be made for filing 
private and personal records in locked boxes which should 
be in the custody of the Secretary alone and to which access 
could be had only by this officer of the American Society for 
Psychical Research. 

The object of this resolution was to encourage the collec- 
tion of important matter throwing light upon the problem 
which we are investigating, but of too private a nature to 
receive publication or to be accessible to general students. 
We have a few such records which it is impossible to make 
public in any way, even if permitted to do so. They are ex- 
tremely valuable to a proper knowledge of the problem, and 
in fact we can not be expected to form or pronounce a judg- 
ment upon certain features of it without such a collection on 
a large scale, and hence it is desirable that we shall have pro- 
vision for the protection of private and confidential experi- 
ences, but which are invaluable in the investigation of 
psychic research. The scientific man cannot be expected to 
have an explanation of private experiences unless he can 
have them submitted to his scrutiny in large numbers, and 
he must be granted the opportunity to penetrate into the 
phenomena with all the care and thoroughness of the physi- 
cian who has to treat his patients. The system of private 
and locked files will supply the Society with a means of en- 
couraging the record of phenomena which may be more im- 
portant than all others in our custody. It is hoped, there- 
fore, that members who have private and personal experi- 
ences of great importance will consent to have them filed for 
preservation and future usefulness. Everything so filed will 
be treated as the private property of the parties trusting the 
matter to us and no use of it made that is not stipulated in 
the transfer. The primary object is to have a record made 
of experiences that will otherwise be lost to the scientific 
Icnowledge of the human race. An indefinite keeping may 

256 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

be necessary in many cases before even the type of phe- 
nomena should be mentioned. But in any case we need 
means for protecting important facts from being lost. 

The subject of private records suggests the importance of 
some remarks on the matter of records generally. There are 
several points to be emphasized in this connection. 

In the first place I would call readers' attention to the fact 
that the scientific value of an experience dies with the per- 
son who has had it, unless it is put on record and subjected 
to such investigation and verification as may be possible. 
Second-hand stories do not have the same value as first-hand, 
and any one who has had an experience that may be im- 
portant to his fellows should think of this fact and make 
some sacrifices to the needs of science and the welfare of the 
race. No higher duty exists than to see that one's experi- 
ence can be made helpful to others and to the sum of human 
knowledge. Each has it in his power to add to this result 
if he has any important experience to record. It is easy to 
eliminate the personal aspect of such from the account by 
concealing the identity of the reporter. All that is required 
is that the subject of the phenomena submit to the proper 
inquiry and then ask for the reservation of his or her iden- 
tity from public knowledge. Of course it is all the better if 
the individual be able or willing to have his name used. But 
this is not necessary in most cases, while the importance of 
his experience may often be so great as to justify large sac- 
rifices for the benefit of human knowledge. 

In the second place, there is one important fact which 
should not be lost to view in emphasizing the value of spor- 
adic experiences. It is the simple fact that all human prog- 
ress depends on making records of one's experience. No 
progress whatever was ever made until the race began to 
record its experiences. Picture writing, hieroglyphics, papy- 
rus and parchment writing, cuneiform inscriptions, etc., are 
all indicative of what was the antecedent condition of all 
transmitted knowledge, and civilization never rose to any 
high stage until some method was obtained for accumulating 
and preserving knowledge. The most important advances 
in medicine were made on the records of its special cases 

Editorial. 257 

which serve to enable me to understand the laws of physi- 
ology. If medicine had not recorded its special cases it 
would have still been in the condition it was in the 
time of Esculapius and Hippocrates. The same gen- 
eral fact may be noted in astronomy and its knowledge of 
meteors. A careful record of the facts had. to precede a 
scientific view of the phenomena. The facts of psychic re- 
search should not go to waste on the ground that people do 
not give them adequate attention. They can be made to 
consider them if recorded in sufficient numbers. As re- 
marked above, unless recorded they die with the person who 
experienced them, and they are too valuable to let pass in 
this way. For thousands of years the human race has ne- 
glected these phenomena which are adapted to throw more 
light on the meaning of things than any other class of facts, 
and has made it all but impossible to get scientific considera- 
tion of them. As they require to be collected in large num- 
bers the only hope of securing evidence of some important 
conclusion lies in recording such facts as they occur. This 
once done the future is so much the gainer thereby. 

It matters not what this experience may be, provided it 
seems unusual. There are many more problems to solve in 
psychology than the existence of a soul or a future life. 
There are the questions of the mind's own influence on what 
purports to be supernormal, and to understand this we need 
to collect and study all types of residual phenomena of mind, 
including illusions, hallucinations, dreams, deliria, morbid 
mental states, hypnosis, somnambulism, unconscious mental 
action, secondary personality, and all such phenomena as 
may show what the mind does in its exhibition of residual 
events. All these should be recorded and collected at the 
time of their occurrence, if we are to make any progress in 
the study of the most important of all psychological prob- 
lems. We cannot be asked to explain individual or isolated 
incidents unless we have means of forming some conception 
of a g^eneral principle which shall be related to them, and the 
primary condition of securing this general principle is the 
collection of well established facts. It takes time to do this 
when the phenomena are comparatively sporadic. It re- 

258 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

quires a long period to obtain them in sufficient quantity to 
impress the scientific mind with their importance. Each 
individual may have his share in this final result by recording 
his experience at once and sending it to the Secretary of the 
Society where it may receive a permanent protection. 

People should remember in considering their experiences 
that they have an opportunity to contribute to the advance- 
ment of human knowledge and the benefit of the human race 
by recording the facts. It is not the primary desire on our 
part that we should rush into the publication of experiences 
of any kind, especially of the personal and private type. But 
it is important that we should have them at hand for study 
and the formation of opinions regarding them. Once re- 
corded and investigated, and authenticated scientifically, they 
preserve their value permanently, and those who possess in- 
formation which may help to throw light on the wider mean- 
ing the world should esteem it a favor to have an opportunity 
to help their fellows in the distant future by submitting their 
experiences to examination and preservation. It can be con- 
sidered one of the highest privileges and duties, and certainly 
the failure to do so is a wholly unnecessary selfishness. We 
cannot expect others to treat us justly unless we are dis- 
posed to do the same to them. If we demand of the world 
that it give us its knowledge for our welfare we owe it to this 
world that we contribute as much as we demand. When 
publicity and notoriety are not involved it is easy to perform 
the service of helpfulness in this manner. 

One of the strangest features of the present is the will- 
ingness of hundreds to write their experiences to the news- 
papers when it is a waste of time to do so and a waste of ink 
to print them, since no sane person would attach the slight- 
est value to unsigned and uninvestigated statements of any 
one. And yet the same persons resent the study and record 
of these experiences by the only men who are able to give 
them value ! It is hoped that the publications of the Society 
may encourage the habit of reporting all such experiences 
and that the accumulation of them may result in a recon- 
struction of our knowledge of nature that may reward each 
one with the consciousness of having served well his race. 

Editorial. 259 


We are publishing in this number of the Journal a paper 
by Dr. Duncan MacDougall on some experiments represent- 
ing an attempt to test the claim that the soul might have 
weight. It was not his intention that his experiments should 
obtain public notice at present, but an unauthenticated pub- 
lication of his attempts, with the usual distortion that every- 
thing gets in the papers, has resulted in this prompt effort to 
correct the misrepresentation. The correspondence between 
Dr. MacDougall and Dr. Richard Hodgson is printed below, 
with a letter to the Editor of the Journal which explains itself. 
The frank explanation is made by Dr. MacDougall that he 
had a theory to start with and that he was testing it. He as 
frankly indicates that his theory, with which he started, may 
be false, and that the assumption that the soul is ponderable 
may be a wrong one. These facts it is important to bear in 
mind when considering his experiments. They make it 
wholly unnecessary to enter into discussion with Dr. Mac- 
Dougall about his position, since he can be indifferent to the 
outcome of his experiments. 

It may be important, however, to remark a few precau- 
tions for the psychic researcher in this connection. It should 
be observed that the problem of psychic research" is not af- 
fected by either success or failure in such experiments as Dr. 
MacDougairs. One might even contend that success in 
proving the loss of weight by death in some way not ordi- 
narily accountable by physical theories would not prove that 
the residuum was a soul. It might be some vital energy, and 
the soul yet remain an imponderable form of substance. It 
might even be that vital force, if such there be other than 
the orthodox chemical theory of life, is also imponderable, 
and that the residuum of such experiments as Dr. Mac- 
DougaU's would be some form of matter not yet known. All 
that successful experiments would prove would be that there 
was some form of energy unaccounted for by known agen- 
cies, and not necessarily that this residuum was the subject 
of consciousness. The problem of psychic research, in so 
far as it represents the search for a soul concerns the evi- 

260 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

dence that consciousness survives death, and that is a psy- 
chological, not a physical problem. Even after we proved 
that something survived death, we should still have to prove 
that it was conscious and also to prove that it was the same 
consciousness that we had once known as a living human 
person. That can be determined only by communication 
with the discarnate, and any conclusion established by that 
method would be indifferent to the question whether the sub- 
ject of consciousness was ponderable or imponderable. Fail- 
ure to prove that the residuum in such experiments as Dr. 
MacDougall's is ponderable would not affect this question 
of personal identity. It would remain a legitimate suit or 
question in any case, especially as we are privileged to as- 
sume imponderable and space occupying substances. As for 
myself, I have no objections to the Leibnitzian or Bosco- 
vitchian point of view which is that the ultimate nature of 
substance is spaceless. I do not accept that view, but I have 
no facts or philosophy that require me to contradict it. I 
simply ascertain facts and accept the conclusions which they 
make imperative, and hence I make no a priori assumptions 
as to what the substance of the soul or of anything else must 
be. That has to be determined by the facts, not by hypoth- 
eses antecedent to facts. 

This does not mean that such experiments as Dr. Mac- 
Dougall has undertaken are not highly important. They 
will be extremely valu&ble whether the result be negative or 
affirmative, whether a ponderable residuum can be found or 
not. Either conclusion will be an important one. But the 
recognition of that fact does not subordinate the problem of 
psychical research to the outcome of such efforts. It is an 
independent question. 

Funds of the Institute, except those loaned on security, 
are deposited in the United States Trust Company and can 
be drawn only on order of the Board of Trustees on the joint 
signature of its President and Treasurer. 

Incidents. 261 


The society assumes no responsibility for anjrthing pub- 
lished under this head and no indorsement is implied except 
that it has been furnished by an apparently trustworthy con- 
tributor whose name is given unless withheld at his own 


Dream, (Coincidental.) 

The following experience is signed by three persons, 
the lady, Mrs. S. A. C , who had the dream, her daugh- 
ter, Mrs. J. C. J , and the latter's husband, Mr. J. C. 

J . I know Mr. and Mrs. J. C. J personally and can 

vouch for their intelligence as witnesses. It is desired by 
all parties that no names should be mentioned or places that 
would lead to their identification. 


Aug. 7th, 1906. 

Dear Dr. Hyslop: 

It has taken some time to find dates connected with the dream 
I mentioned to you, hence the delay. I have at last gathered the 
facts as follows: 

Mrs. D , my father's sister, had, with husband and fam- 
ily, removed from our home in Indiana to Nebraska, in 1882, and 
in November, 1885, she and her husband returned to visit the old 
home. They had spent but a day or two with us, when a special 
invitation came from friends ten miles distant, which they ac- 
cepted, promising to return to us about November 13th. On 

November 13th, about 8 A. M., my mother, Mrs. S. A. C , 

dreamed that Mary, the youngest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. 

D , who had been teaching in Nebraska, was very ill, and 

could not live, and that a message had been sent to her father and 
mother to come home at once. My mother was so impressed by 
the dream, that she awoke and slept no more that night. As 
soon as we arose, she told us of the dream, and of her anxiety — 
but we made light of her fears — thinking it was only a slight 
attack of indigestion. 

However, we learned later, that at 3 A. M., on the 14th, just 
twenty-four hours after the dream, the message came — " Mary 
was very ill, come home at once " — and still later — that she died 
the evening of the 14th, many hours before her parents reached 

262 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 

If there is anything you would like to ask further about this, 
we shall be glad to answer if possible. 

Sincerely, * 

(Mrs.) Sarah A. C . 

J. C. J . 

(Mrs.) J. C. J . 

The following letter was sent to me in response to further 
inquiries regarding important details not made clear in the 
first letter : 

My Dear Dr. Hyslop: 

Yours of 2 1 St of December reached us, and in reply to your 
questions will say for my mother, (i) That she remembers 
telling her dream to no one except Mr. J and myself be- 
fore the telegram came. 

(2) William C , her brother-in-law, who lived near 

where the D 's were visiting, was the messenger who 

brought the news of the telegram, in the dream. That incident 

also came true, as Mr. C and family were the only ones in 

that vicinity who attended our church, and we had no telephone 
in those days, and the next day after the telegram came being 
Sabbath, they waited and told us at church. 

(3) We knew that Mr. D 's daughter had not been ven- 

well, but as she was still teaching we had not given it much 

We forgot one rather important detail when I wrote you be- 
fore. It is this — that the telegram had been sent to the wrong 

place, and did not reach Mr. D *s for a day or two after it 

was sent — and two or three letters telling of his daughter's ill- 
ness had been sent in care of friends who were awaiting an op- 
portunity to deliver them — and this was the second telegram tli;r 
was sent, so that the dream was possibly about the time of the 
first telegram. 

We can think of nothing further at present. Mother, Mr. 

J and I will sign the statements. If you would like to have 

the exact time which elapsed between the two telegrams, I could 
get the facts from my aunt, no doubt, but we do not know 
exactly. Sincerely, 

(Mrs.) Sarah A. C . 

(Mrs.) J. C. J 

Desiring further information regarding the two telegrams 
I wrote to Mrs. J. C. J. to know more definitely what the 
second telegram was and whether it could be obtained at this 
date or not. The following reply explains itself : 

Correspondence. 263 

April loth, 1907. 

My Dear Dr. Hyslop : — 

After receiving your request for dates I wrote my aunt at 
once, but did not hear from her for a very long time, owing to 
sickness in her family. She mentions only one telegram. If I 
said there were two it must have been a mistake. As I remem- 
ber, I said one or two letters had been sent and failed to reach 
them, stating that their daughter was worse. This is what my 
aunt writes: — 

" We received the telegram at 4 P. M., November 13th, 1885. 
It was sent from Ewing, Nebraska, at 1 1 A. M. same day. The 
depot at Ewing was burned some years afterward and I suppose 
all records destroyed." J. D . 

So you see the telegram had not been delayed as long as I 
had thought, but the letters had been on the road long enough 
to have reached them at the time the dream occurred. 


(Mrs.) J. C. J . 


The newspapers have recently contained a good deal of 
matter with reference to the problem of " weighing a soul," 
and have so misunderstood and misrepresented the work of 
Dr. Duncan MacDougall that we have offered to him the 
space for a correction of them. It will be apparent to any 
reader that Dr. MacDougall has not made any such extrav- 
agant pretensions as those ascribed to him by the papers, and 
it is with a view to removing the false impression which 
newspapers invariably give that the matter has been taken 
up here. The Editor of the Journal does not share the hopes 
which many entertain regarding the possibility of " weighing 
a soul," but this does not preclude his recognition of the 
value of experiment, whatever its outcome. The main point 
is to have a definite conclusion established, whether it be 
negative or affirmative. 

The following letter was received from Dr. McDougall 
soon after the story appeared in the papers. It explains it- 
self. It is followed by the correspondence between himself 

264 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

and Dr. Hodgson, which occurred some years ago, and before 
the latter's death. Both will make clear the scientific atti- 
tude maintained in the problem. 

Haverhill, Mass., March 13th, 1907. 
Dr. James H. Hyslop : 

Dear Sir : — I thank you for your interest in the experiments. 
It is unfortunate that they have received publicity first through 
the newspapers, as it was my intention to collect the data and 
complete my argument in a paper to be made public before some 
scientific body. That I judge, is out of the question now. The 
premature publication is unfortunate because of another matter. 
I had lately become connected with a hospital and was thereby 
winning the confidence of those in charge, and hoped that within 
this year I might be able to resume my experiments. This pre- 
mature newspaper publication ends that hope. In response to 
your letter and also at the suggestion of Miss Lucy Edmonds, 
the former Secretary of the late Dr. Hodgson, I enclose a type- 
written copy of my communications with Dr. Hodgson, with the 
request that some time you will return them. You may make 
copies of them if you like. These communications to Dr. Hodg- 
son contain practically the whole substance of my experiments. 
The salient features of the whole matter are as follows : 

1. We did find by rigid experimentation a loss of substance 
from the body not accounted for by known channels of loss, occurring 
at death, in some cases exactly coinciding with death, in others 
shortly after death. 

2. The loss of substance was from three-eighths or one-half 
an ounce, up to one and one-half ounces. 

3. In the first case we had ideal conditions, viz. : no friction 
on the part of officials of the institution, and opportunity of 
watching the patient four hours before death. The movement 
of the beam in his case was remarkable. It dropped to the 
lower bar with a thud exactly at the moment of death. In the 
other cases we had more or less friction on the part of officials 
which worried me very much. In the case of the woman this 
friction and annoyance were so great, that I threw that test 
out. In one other case the patient was on the scales just a few 
minutes before death, and while in the communication which I 
made to Dr. Hodgson I have written there was no loss of 
weight in that case, I should have written that there was more 
than two ounces in fact, but the whole thing was done so hur- 
riedly in this case, that I was dissatisfied, though the weight 
might have slipped, or the beam, and so I threw out the experi- 

4. All the cases with the exception of the woman, died of 

Correspondence. 265 

tuberculosis. Consumptive cases were selected because they 
fulfilled the conditions requisite for a delicate test to a nicety, 
I. e. — ^a consumptive dying after a long illness wasting his ener- 
gies, dies with scarcely a movement to disturb the beam, their 
bodies are also very light, and we can be forewarned for hours 
that a consumptive is dying. 

S. In the case of animals (dogs) the results of the tests were 
negative, but I have this to say, that the tests on the dogs were 
vitiated by the necessity of using two drugs in order to secure 
the necessary muscular relaxation— quiet and stillness, so that 
the beam would remain at balance. They were all healthy dogs. 
The ideal dog test or other animal test would be that of one 
dying of an illness, that produced great exhaustion and no mus- 
cular movement. Of course a theory preceded the experiments 
and some are foolish enough to think that because I had a theory 
to begin with I would be therefore a biased observer. I hardly 
think so. • 

If personal identity (and consciousness and all the attributes 
of mind and personality) continue to exist after the death of the 
body, it mtist exist as a space-occupying body, unless the relations 
here in this world between the conscious ego and space, our 
notions of space as fixed in our brain by inheritance and experi- 
ence are wholly to be set aside and a new set of space relations 
to consciousness suddenly established, which would be such a 
breach in the community of nature that I cannot imagine it. 
At any rate we are now limited to the conception that for per- 
sonal identity or personality, or individuality, to exist and have 
being, is only possible in a space-occupying body. To think of 
personal identity or personality existing and yet not occupying 
space, is equivalent to thinking that something can be nothing 
or if not that absurdity, then the equal absurdity that space and 
personality are one and the same thing. If we continue to exist 
then as Tom, and Dick and Harry, having personal identity 
intact, with the separateness of personality, it can only be as 
space-occupying bodies. The question arises, what is this sub- 
stance-occupying space which contains the personality and con- 
sciousness of Tom, and Dick, and Harry. Is it substance having 
weight, ordinary gravitative matter; is it the ether, or is it a 
middle soul substance, neither ether, nor gravitative matter? 
Most everyone believes that Tom, and Dick and Harry and all 
the rest of us do continue to live after the death of the body. It 
is the central idea of all the great religious beliefs. Out of these 
cogitations arose the desire to test by experiment if anything left 
the body after death that could be detected by a balance, and our 
experiments appear to prove that there is a substance ivhich goes 
from the body at death not accounted for by known channels of loss, 
I wish to note further that if this substance lost at death is really 

266 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

the soul substance and if it is in dimensions a counterpart of the 
physical body then its density is very much lighter than the 
atmosphere surrounding the earth, which would be rather a 
significant fact. Now, Dr. Hyslop, it may be that other investi- 
gators — if the matter is ever taken up— will prove that I have 
discovered a mare's nest. If they do, that will not prove, by any 
means, that man is mortal, for the soul substance may not be 
gravitative matter and yet be a substance. 

I am well aware that these few experiments do not prove the 
matter any more than a few swallows make a summer, but yet 
the results should at least provoke further experiments. Now 
that the cat is out of the bag, by the least desirable method- 
newspaper publication — after being securely kept in for five or 
six years, if you care to publish this letter, I have no objection 
to your doing so. I dislike the sensational publication of the 
facts, but have not been able to prevent it, and perhaps the pub- 
lication of this letter would do much to remove the misconcep- 
tions that have arisen, as it is the only written statement I have 
made concerning the matter since I last wrote to Dr. Hodgson 
five years ago. Sincerely yours, 


The following letters represent the correspondence be- 
tween Dr. MacDougall and Dr. Richard Hodgson on the 
same subject. We have omitted such parts of the corre- 
spondence as was purely personal and irrelevant to the theo- 
retical and experimental problem at hand. 

November loth, 1901. 
Richard Hodgson, M. D. : 

Dear Doctor : — While travelling to Europe on board the Ces- 
trian of the Leyland Line this summer, a discussion arose one 
evening among a group of passengers concerning the question of 
immortality, materialism or spiritualism. 

At the end of the conversation I related an experiment which 
I had made which I thought of great importance in its bearing 
upon the subject. Dr. Herbert L. Burrel, of Boston, was one 
of the group and after I had related the experiment, he advised 
me to inform you of it, I had thought of you as one who might 
*^e interested, and the Doctor's recommendation determined me 

write to you after I had returned. 

In the first place I want to state the steps of reasoning that 

red me on to making the experiment. 

irst. If personal continuity after the event of death is a fact, 
che psychic functions continue to exist as a separate individu- 

Correspondence. 267 

ality after the death of brain and body, then it must exist as a 
substantial material entity, for: — 

Second. It is unthinkable that personality and consciousness 
can be attributes of that which does not occupy space and is 
absolutely imponderable — nothing. It is impossible to repre- 
sent in thought, that which is neither space-occupying nor pon- 
derable (in the sense of having weight) as having personality or 
consciousness, or any other quality, for that would be thinking 
of nothing as being something, which is a manifest contradiction. 
Since therefore, it is necessary to the continuance of personality 
and consciousness after death, that they must have some sort of a 
material basis, the question arose in my mind — Why not weigh 
on accurate scales a man at the very moment of death? Per- 
haps this material basis may be ponderable to sensitive scales 
even now at my command, perhaps it is so delicate that it may 
escape me, but nevertheless the experiment has never been done 
before. To settle the question it must be done. 

On the loth day of last April, my opportunity came. On a 
Fairbanks Standard platform scales, I had previously arranged a 
frame work of wood, very light ; on top of this I placed a cot bed 
with clothing in such a manner that the beam was not interfered 
with in any way. 

At 5 130 P. M. the patient, a man dying in consumption, was 
placed on the bed. He lived until 9:10 P. M. During those 
three hours and forty minutes he lost weight at the rate of an 
ounce in one hour, the sixtieth part of an ounce in one minute, 
so that every ten or fifteen minutes I was compelled to shift the 
sliding weight back upon the beam in order to keep the beam end 
up against the upper limiting bar, which I wished to do for the 
sake of making the test of sudden loss all the more marked and 
decisive, if such loss should come. This loss of weight, one 
ounce each hour or one sixtieth of an ounce each minute, was due 
to evaporation of moisture from the nasopharyngeal and broncho- 
pulmonary and buccal mucous membrane accompanying respira- 
tion, and also to the evaporation of moisture from cutaneous per- 

At 9 :o8 P. M. my patient being near death, for the last time I 
sent back the shifting weight on the beam so that for the last ten 
minutes the beam end was in continuous contact with the upper 
limiting bar. Suddenly at 9:10 P. M. the patient expired and 
exactly simultaneously with the last movement of the respiratory 
muscles and coincident with the last movement of the facial 
muscles the beam end dropped to the lower limiting bar and 
remained there without rebound as though a weight had been 
lifted off the bed. Later it took the combined weight of two 
silver dollars to lift the beam back to actual balance. On weigh- 

268 Journal of the Atnerican Society for Psychical Research. 

ing these they were found together to weigh three-fourths of an 

This sudden loss of weight could not be accounted for by 
evaporation of cutaneous or respiratory moisture, that had 
already been determined to be at the rate of a sixtieth of an 
ounce in one minute, whereas this loss was at the rate of three- 
fourths of an ounce momentarily. 

The bowels did not move. If they had moved the weight 
would have remained upon the bed excepting for a slow loss by 
evaporation of moisture depending of course upon the fluidity 
of the faeces. 

The bladder moved slightly about one or two teaspoonfuls of 
urine escaping exactly at death. This remained upon the bed, 
and could only have influenced the result by slow gradual evap- 
oration, and could in no way have accounted for the sudden loss. 

There remained but one channel of loss to explore, the expira- 
tion of all but the residual air in the lung. 

Getting upon the bed myself, my colleague, Dr. Sproull, put 
the beam at actual balance ; I then forcibly inspired and forcibly 
expired all the air possible for several times, but this had no 
influence upon the beam. 

Changing places with Dr. Sproull I watched the beam myself 
while he forcibly inhaled and exhaled all the air possible; the 
result was the same — no effect whatever upon the beam. 

Here then is a loss of weight — three-fourths of an ounce 
occuring simultaneously with death not accounted for by known 
channels of loss. What is the meaning of it? Have I really 
weighed the soul substance? — the thing that carries with it in 
its flight, personality, individuality, consciousness. 

I was looking up an Encyclopaedic Dictionary tonight on the 
subject of Materialism and I saw where Rudolph Wagner at a 
Congress of Psychology in 1854 had proposed a discussion of 
" soul substance " but not one of the five hundred voices present 
was raised in defence of a spiritual philosophy. Have I dis- 
covered Wagner's " soul substance " with my weighing machine? 
I think so, and I mean to verify and re-verify and re-re-verify, 
if I live long enough. 

I would like you to be present at some one of the tests, and if 
disproof comes I shall be as ready to admit it as verification. 

I feel sure that from you I shall have an impartial judgment, 
and I hope you will consent to be present at some one of the 
tests that must surely come this winter. 

Very sincerely yours, 


P. S. — Since writing the above my second experiment has 
been done. The following are the details: 

Correspondence. 269 

The patient, a man moribund from consumption, was placed 
upon the bed of the weighing machine at 12:10 A .M. He was a 
larger man than my first case. He slowly lost weight at the 
rate of three-fourths of an ounce per hour until 4:10 A. M., when 
he apparently ceased breathing. For fifteen minutes after there 
was twitching of the eyelids and twitching of the lips only, 
during which time there was no loss of weight, the beam remain- 
ing constantly against the upper bar, then in a few moments after 
the last twitching the beam began to sink slowly until in fifteen 
minutes more it had touched and remained at the lower bar. A 
weight of one-half ounce moved it back again to the upper. At 
this point Dr. Sproull, my colleague, auscultated the heart and 
finding it stopped, the one-half ounce having been previously 
lifted oflE and the beam end at the lower bar, I tried again when it 
took one ounce and a half and fifty grains to lift it back to the 
upper bar. Inside of three minutes with all channels of loss 
closed a loss of one ounce and fifty grains took place. In the 
whole eighteen minutes, the total loss with all channels of loss 
closed that amount of loss took place, whereas in four hours with 
respiration and perspiration active the total loss was three 
ounces. No bowel movement took place. The bladder moved 
but the urine remained upon the bed, and could not have evap- 
orated enough through the thick bed clothing to have influenced 
the result. 

The beam at the end of the eighteen minutes immediately 
after the loss was determined was placed again with the end in 
slight contact with the upper bar and watched for forty-five 
minutes but no further loss took place. 

My scales are sensitive to two-tenths of an ounce. If placed 
at balance, one-tenth of an ounce will lift the beam end close to 
the upper bar. A second one-tenth of an ounce will place it in 
contact with the upper bar ; if then both are removed gently the 
beam will drop down nearly to the lower bar and then slowly 
oscillate until balance is reached again. 

This patient was of a totally different temperament from the 
first; his death was very gradual so that we had great doubt, 
from the ordinary evidence to say just at what minute he died. 

It is not however pure coincidence of loss that I am after; 
it is to determine if a loss of weight takes place at or near death 
which cannot be explained or accounted for by known channels 
of loss. This second test was as conclusive in support of my 
thesis as was the first. I beg of you to keep this private in the 
meantime. I am arranging to begin on animals. 
Very sincerely yours, 


The foHowing is Dr. Hodgson's reply to the above letter: 

270 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

Boston, Mass., November 29th, 1901. 

Dear Doctor: — I was very much interested in your letter, 
begun apparently on November loth but not finished or 
despatched till about November 2Sth. I congratulate you heart- 
ily on the experiments which you are making. I suppose it 
might be a little queer if I were to say that I hoped you would 
have enormous opportunities for your special experiment with 
the patients that come under your charge. I hope, however, that 
circumstances will enable you to take advantage of every oppor- 
tunity that does arise. Your letter at once reminded me of a 
story in the Atlantic Monthly, which would doubtless interest 
you. It appeared in June, 1887, called " Crucial Experiment." 
Some of the characters appeared in a previous story in November, 

1886, I think. The story is by J. P. Q , who is the father 

of the former of Boston. The professor in the story 

says that he hopes to " show that approximating the time when 
the soul leaves the body, there is an alteration in its weight 
which is capable of registration, I have caused the bed to be 
supported upon an exquisitely poised balance which will show 
any remission of the downward pressure." You would, I think, 
be interested in reading the two stories, which are not so much 
stories, perhaps, as means of expressing special views. In 
Quincy's article, however, the corpus vile does not die, so that the 
experiment is off, and no details are given. The possibility of 
the occurrence of some other form of disturbance at the moment 
of death, is also suggested in the story. I should like indeed to 
see experiments which cover this point also. It would be ver)' 
interesting, e. g., if it should be found that there was some evi- 
dence of a special disturbance in the ether in the neighborhood of 
the dying body. 

I am not sure that on philosophic grounds I entirely agree 
with the argument in your brief preamble. I should venture to 
urge that we are not justified in denying the existence of per- 
sonality except as an attribute of a space-occupying material 
body, but a discussion on this point would be impossible as it 
would lead us into all the deepest realms of philosophy generally. 
There is another point where I think that you will probably agree 
with me. You may perhaps admit the possibility that there may 
be a physical correlate of consciousness, which physical correlate 
may nevertheless consist not of what is known as gross ponder- 
able matter, but of the ether. It is thinkable that there should 
be some kind of ethereal body, and there is apparently a general 
consensus of opinion among physicists that the ether is impon- 
derable. Any theory, however, is independent of your valuable 
experiments. I doubt if my assistance will be of any value at all 
to you in these, but I should of course be glad to do anything in 
my power. 

Correspondence. 271 

I shall keep your communications private. As it occurs to 
me that it would be desirable to have as large a number of cases 
experimented with as possible, have you thought of obtaining 
help from other doctors or hospitals, e. g,, in the investigations 
or are you particularly anxious to make all the experiments your- 
self ? I should be glad if you thought it advisable to try to enlist 
other workers in your behalf if possible, and have the results of 
your work handed over to you. I should like also, with your per- 
mission, to consult on your experiments with some of my med- 
ical friends here, on the understanding, of course, that it was a 
private matter and that it was your investigation. I should like 

to talk with , of Harvard Medical School, but of course I 

shall not do this, if you have any objection. 

I agree with you very strongly, of course, as to the extreme 
importance of the investigation whatever results may be finally 
reached. Yours sincerely, 


To this Dr. MacDougall replied as follows : 

Dec. 5th, 1901. 
Dear Doctor Hodgson : 

I thank you for your kind letter of November 29th. Yea, 
verily, I do wish that the hope you express for enormous oppor- 
tunities might be fulfilled, but I must bear myself with patience 
and wait for cases as the gods may send them. It is very sin- 
gular that I should have carried out even to the point of com- 
pletion, the experiment of J, P. 's fictitious professor. I 

have sometimes wondered if the idea of such an experiment had 
ever been entertained by others. But your information settles 
that point. I am rather glad to find that I have not been alone. 
Yes, it would be interesting to demonstrate if there is a disturb- 
ance in the ether at death, but I cannot imagine how such a dem- 
onstration might be made. 

In regard to your second point. Doctor, I think we are more 
justified in assuming that that which is the container of the 
totality of the psychic functions, including consciousness and per- 
sonality, and still persisting after the death of our bodies, is much 
more likely to be a material, organically linked with the body 
than the hypothetical, yet necessary ^ther-substance, which has 
never been demonstrated to be a necessary part of our living 
organism although necessary to our ideas of space and the action 
of energy, inter-planetary and inter-stellar. 

My soul substance, which eludes me the moment I demon- 
strate it, is of course of such weight that it is totally different 
from the ether. Perhaps some genius will apply a spectroscope 
to it some day and demonstrate its composition. If we admitted 

272 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

your proposition that consciousness and personality might exist 
in a body of ether, then we would still be fulfilling one of the 
principal parts of my thesis, because ether is a space occupying 
body. It really is unthinkable that consciousness and person- 
ality or individuality could exist in that which is not space-occu- 
pying, for that is practically attributing these qualities to space 

Going back to your theory of ether substance having con- 
sciousness and personality for its content, while I cannot con- 
ceive, yet it may be that there is a middle substance which is the 
soul substance, and which resembles the ether in being non- 
gravitative and therefore not weighable, but which resembles 
ordinary matter in being discontinuous or capable of existing in 
separate masses, which is a necessary condition for the existence 
of individual consciousness or separate consciousness having 
personal identity. However, I may be mistaken in my con- 
ception of this point of difference between matter and ether, i. e., 
the continuity of the ether, and the discontinuous quality of mat- 
ter. I realize that if my results are experimentally confirmed by 
others, then these results have a positive scientific bearing upon 
the doctrine of human immortality. If on the other hand I am 
proven to be in error in my experiments, the question remains as 
it was before — the absence of weight loss is no proof against 
human immortality. 

And now, Doctor Hodgson, I want to thank you for your 
kindly interest. If you would like to meet me and my colleague, 
Dr. Sproull, I would be glad to drop in on you any day before 
Thursday next week at whatever time you may set, in order that 
he or I may answer any question you may have to put on the ex- 
periments, and in order that we might more fully explain the dif- 
ficulties one has to contend with in doing the human experiment 
Before Thursday of next week I shall have opportunity to go to 
Boston, after that I shall be held here for a time. 

Sincerely yours, 


P. S. — I forgot to say that if Mr. would like to be 

present to question me or to make suggestion — ^provided you are 
able to meet me — I shall be glad to meet him. 

Dr. Hodgson then replies in the following: 

Boston, Mass., Dec. 9th, 1901. 
Dear Doctor: 

Thanks for yours of December 5th. The possibility of as- 
certaining any unusual disturbance in the ether in the neighbor- 
hood of a dying body would have to be tried by various forms of 

Correspondence, 273 

experiment. They might indeed all fail even if there were such 
a disturbance, but the kind of experiment to begin with would 
be with instruments sensitive to slight electric changes, con- 
nected perhaps with a galvanic needle. 

I suppose we must be content for the present to join issue as 
to the a priori probability as to the constitution of the physical 
analogue of consciousness, ether or gravitational matter. How- 
ever, this will of course make no difference to the form of your 
actual experiment. 

As regards your other point, it is a philosophic one. You 
say that it is unthinkable that consciousness could exist in that 
which is not space occupying. The real fact is that space is 
mental, and altho it may not be as Kant maintained, the form of 
all thought, it is the form of some thought ; but here again, any 
view that we may hold on this point makes no difference to your 
actual experimental work. 

I shall be glad to know of your later experiments and your 
publication. Yours sincerely, 


It is apparent from the next letter of Dr. MacDougall that 
Dr. Hodgson had written a letter on the 3rd of January, 1902, 
but this is not included in those sent to me. 

January 6th, 1902. 
Dear Doctor Hodgson: 

Yours of 3rd inst. received. I have no objection to your com- 
municating with Mr. , and relating the matter to him, for 

I feel sure that at your request, he will preserve the privacy of 
the matter. 

I would have no objection to your relating it to Dr. 

at this time, but for the fact that I wish a third test before broach- 
ing the matter to positioned and entrenched scientific authority. 
I have had two rebuffs already from such a quarter. 

I had hoped to communicate the result of the third experiment 
to you before this time, but a foolish misunderstanding barred me 
from what would have been an excellent test case. The misun- 
derstanding has been cleared away and I am now free to go on 
with my observations whenever the opportunity presents. 

I shall be interested to know what Dr. thinks of the 

discovery. It is odd that his thought and mine should have co- 
incided so remarkably. The idea struck me sometime in the 
winter of '96-97, and I am sure I never even read a copy of the 
Atlantic Monthly which is an admission I probably should be 
ashamed of. 

The coincidence of thought but shows that after all there is 

274 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

nothing more likely to happen than particular aspects of the en- 
vironment — the objective forcing themselves upon the conscious- 
ness of the mind — ^the subjective. 

Just as soon as the third experiment is recorded I will mail 
you the facts of the case. With many thanks for your kind 
interest. Sincerely yours, 


The present letter is a continuation of an account of ex- 
periments and is not especially a reply to any particular 
letter : 

May 22nd, 1902. 
Dear Doctor Hodgson: 

Since I wrote you last I have had four more experiments on 
human subjects. 

In the first of these four, there was a loss of half an ounce 
coincident with death, and an additional loss of an extra ounce 
a few minutes later, but in the interval there was a jarring of the 
scales and a movement of the beam that might have caused the 
sliding weight to shift acidentally on the beam. This jarring 
was caused in examining the heart with a stethoscope to deter- 
mine whether or not the heart had ceased to beat. 

In the second of the fpur, the patient dying of diabetic coma, 
unfortunately our scales were not finely balanced, and although 
there is a descent of the beam requiring about three-eighths to 
half an ounce to bring it to the point preceding death, yet I con- 
sider this test negative. 

The third of the four cases shows a distinct drop in the beam 
registering about three-eighths of an ounce, which could not be 
accounted for; this occurred exactly simultaneously with death, 
but peculiarly, on bringing the beam up again with weights and 
removing them again, the beam did not sink back to stay back 
for quite a period — about ten or fifteen minutes. It was however 
impossible to account for the three-eighths of an ounce drop ; it 
was sudden and distinct, hitting the lower bar with a noise as 
great as in the very first cases. Our scales in this case were very 
sensitively balanced. 

The fourth case of this series was negative. Unfortunately 

owing to complications which we could not prevent the patient 

was but a few minutes on the bed before he died, and whether I 

had the beam accurately balanced before death or not I cannot 

' sure of. I am inclined to believe that he passed away while I 

3 adjusting the beam. At any rate there was no loss of 


Correspondence. 275 

I have to add that the same experiments have been carried out 
on twelve dogs surrounded by every precaution for accuracy, and 
that the results have been uniformly negative — no loss of weight 
at death. A loss of weight takes place about twenty or thirty 
minutes after death, which is due to evaporation of the urine in- 
variably passed, and which loss is duplicated by evaporation from 
the same amount of water on the scales, every other condition 
being the same, except the presence of the dog's body. 

I feel that there is justification for others to go to the trouble 
of making these tests, and if you feel as well disposed to enlist 
others with opportunities for doing them as formally, I shall be 
glad to aid in any way from my experience. 

An apparatus of mine is now in Boston, and I am willing to 
place it at the disposal of any one who has the opportunity and 
the desire to make the tests. 

My chief reason for holding back on this before was the fear 
that after all I had discovered a mare's nest, and that I might put 
others to trouble for nothing. 

It may be now that other experimenters will discover it to 
be a mare's nest ; but at any rate we have sufficient grounds to 
warrant putting others to the trouble of proving the matter. 

I forgot to mention that the dogs experimented on weighed 
from twenty to sixty-five pounds, and that the scales with total 
weight on them were sensitive to the sixteenth of an ounce, or 
thirty grains, yet no loss was demonstrable. 

If it is definitely proven that there is a distinct loss of weight 
in the human being not accounted for by known channels of loss, 
then we have here a physiological difference between the human 
and the canine at least (and probably between the human and all 
other forms of life) hitherto unsuspected. 

You are most kind to offer to try eo enlist others in the ex- 
perimental work, and to relate the experiment to Dr. , but 

I would like to make the third experiment before you did that, 
after it I shall welcome such aid. I want to first publish the dis- 
covery as a fact in the physiology of death, stripped, as a good 
friend of mine has said, of its " psychical significance," because to 
insist ypon the latter might raise prejudice in the minds of many 
of our present day scientific men, and prevent repetition of the 
experiment by others. 

After the fact has been acknowledged and proven, it will be 
time enough to insist upon its meaning. 

Many thanks for your kind interest. I will surely inform you 
at once after the third test. Sincerely yours, 

(This concluded the correspondence.) 

276 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 


The Editor: 

Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research: 

I should like to insert a letter in the Journal, partly by 
way of self-justification, and partly in the hope that I may 
contribute some few items of interest — having had the good 
fortune to observe a number of experiments bearing more or 
less directly on this question of the loss of weight, — ^to which 
I shall refer later on. First of all, however, I should like to 
say a few words with regard to the newspaper stories that 
are going the rounds, containing a statement supposed to 
have been made by me relative to the MacDougall experi- 
ments. The facts were these: a reporter asked me what I 
thought of the idea of placing a criminal who had been sen- 
tenced to death on the scales — death chair and all — and I 
stated that the experiment should certainly be tried ; that it 
would prove most interesting as a test, and indicated certain 
precautions that would have to be taken in order to prevent 
losses from normal causes — ^through expired air, &c. I 
suggested placing a glass hood over the head of the criminal 
a few seconds before the electric current was turned on, as 
in that manner the air forced from the lungs would be re- 
tained in the air-tight cover, and would be weighed — this 
being all the more necessary in all cases of electrocution, 
where it is probable that the electric current would cause a 
violent spasmodic contraction of the muscles of the body, 
and hence a great contraction of the lungs — forcing out a 
quantity of air. I did not say that I considered that would 
be " conclusive proof," but was careful to indicate that, many 
possible sources of error would still have to be guarded 
against, even of the purely physical sort ; nor did I state that 
" in discovering that the human soul has actual weight, and 
is therefore materialistic, (sic) Dr. MacDougall has made the 
most important addition to science that the world had 
known." I think that, if established, it would be one of the 
most important, but I did not state even that much to the 
reporter — merely stating that the experiments would have to 

Correspondence. 277 

be repeated a number of times to induce belief by the scien- 
tific world, especially as all the experiments that had been 
conducted in this direction heretofore had led to the opposite 
conclusion. It has very frequently been asserted that this 
experiment has been tried, and in Hibbert's Life and Energy 
will be found a Chapter entitled " Is Life Matter?'' in which 
this question is considered, and the aufhor comes to the im- 
mediate conclusion that life is not matter owing to this very 
fact — ^that the dead body does not weigh less than the same 
body, alive. I am unaware of any first-hand accounts of such 
a series of experiments having been made, however, and it 
would be amusing if it should turn out that such experiments 
never had been made — after science has stated so dogmatic- 
ally for so many years that the question had already been 
settled past all dispute! If any reader knows of any such 
first-hand accounts, he will confer a favor upon the writer by 
communicating them to him. 

Having now made clear my position (I hope) I wish to say 
a few words on the experiments themselves, more especially 
in view of certain experiments and observations of my own. 
For, after all, the whole question is one of actual experiment, 
and can never be settled by speculations of any sort — ^philo- 
sophic or otherwise. Whether the soul is or can be a space- 
occupying body or not is beside the question, it seems to me, 
and should not enter into any argument based upon observed 
facts; or, if so, it should be allowed weight only as a per- 
sonal opinion, and in no wise influence the conclusions drawn 
from a study of the facts. Taking the experiments, then, as 
Dr. MacDougall has described them, the question arises: 
granting that the facts exist, as stated, would these results 
prove the contention that the observed loss of weight was 
due to the exit from the body of some hypothetical soul- 
substance, or may the facts (granting them to exist, as 
stated) be explained in some such manner as to render Dr. 
. MacDougall's hypothesis unnecessary? 

I must say that Dr. MacDougall seems to have provided 
pretty thoroughly against all normal losses of weight. His 
papers (which I have had the privilege of reading) indicate 
this clearly. The only channel that need be taken seriously 

278 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

into account is the lungs ; i. e., the loss of weight due to ex- 
pired air. It therefore becomes a question of the amount of 
air the lungs may contain, and its consequent weight, — 
granting, for the sake of argument, that every particle of air 
is forced out of the lungs at death. A cubic foot of air, at 
the ordinary temperature, and at sea-level, weighs about 
iM ounces, we are told — a statement that is confirmed by the 
Encyclopaedia Britannica and other authorities. In the cubic 
foot there are 1728 cubic inches. Now, we know tlvat the 
average capacity of the lungs of a healthy human being is 
about 225 to 250 cubic inches (Kirke. Physiology, p. 262); 
but let us say 300 cubic inches to be on the safe side. This 
is, as nearly as possible, one-sixth oz., granting that all the air 
is expired at death — for which we have no evidence — and that 
the lungs contained as much as 300 cubic inches of air. This 
is also a practical impossibility, in such cases as those quoted, 
for the reason that this represents the state of healthy lungs 
at the moment of the fullest inspiration. The majority of 
persons, however, could not inhale 200 cubic inches (the 
twelfth of an oz.) while consumptive patients, dying, and in 
the last stages of the disease, would not contain within their 
lungs anything like 100 cubic inches — the eighteenth of an 
oz. When, therefore. Dr. MacDougall tells us that more than 
a whole ounce is lost instantaneously, at the moment of 
death, we must seek elsewhere than in this direction for the 
explanation of the facts. 

First of all : may it not be that there are some etheric or 
electrical conditions of the body which are no longer present 
after death, ceasing at that moment, yet in no way connected 
with any form of thought or consciousness? It does not 
seem to have occurred to Dr. MacDougall that, coincident 
with life, there may be present certain electric or other activi- 
ties of the body, which cease at the moment pf death, but are 
in no sense causal of the thought and consciousness, that are 
also coincident wth life in the body. Both conditions may 
be present in a living body, though one may not be causal of 
Ihc other in any degree. Both are merely coincidental. It 
is quite possible — not to say probable — that consciousness 
^s on some sort of etheric medium, which in turn acts upon 

Correspondence. 279 

the nervous mechanism, and that, at death, consciousness 
(itself spaceless and weightless) withdraws at once from the 
organism, while the etheric medium withdraws more or less 
gradually, according to the condition of the organism at the 
time — ^this, in turn, determined by the duration and the 
severity of the attendant disease. In some cases, such as 
consumption, where we might almost say the body has died 
before it dies, we might assume that this etheric medium 
would leave the body rapidly, and be noticed immediately, 
while in other diseases, this withdrawal would be much 
slower, and would not be registered by the balance until 
some considerable time after the death; and in such cases 
would have no evidential value, since, (like apparitions of 
the living, as opposed to apparitions of the dead), there 
would be no coincidence to form the striking event. Such 
a withdrawal would account for the facts, perhaps, without 
resorting to the supposition that consciousness was in any 
way that which caused the loss of weight indicated by the 

However, all the above speculations are purely hypo- 
thetical, of course, and would have no weight with the ma- 
terialist — ^who does not accept either consciousness as an 
entity, or the hypothetical etheric medium I have postulated. 
He has, however, to explain the facts, which seem to be 
pretty well established. Is it possible to form some sort of 
explanation without even resorting to the " biological meta- 
physics " in which I have just indulged ? Some experiments 
I have made, and some observations of certain cases, cause 
me to think that these losses and gains of weight might, per- 
haps, be accounted for in other ways. I present some facts 
for the reader's consideration. 

I have been enabled to watch the progress of a number of 
cases of patients who have had their health restored to them 
by means of the Fasting Cure — i. e., the process of abstaining 
entirely from all solid and liquid food for a number of days — 
thirty, forty, fifty, and longer — with the almost uniform 
result that health has been restored to these persons, though 
they had previously been given up to die by the physician 
in charge of the case. I have embodied the results of these 

282 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

which I have been driven to adopt, none other seemingly 
covering the facts. 

There are also cases in which an extraordinary loss oi 
weight has been noticed. I have known of one case in which 
the patient lost 40 pounds in three weeks, while fasting three 
days at a time, and eating one meal on the fourth. More 
remarkable still is another case in which the patient lost 75 
pounds in 21 days of an absolute fast — an average of almost 
35^ pounds per diem. Still, these cases might perhaps be 
accounted for, since the patients were both very stout 
women, and, in all such cases, weight is very rapidly lost. 
Still, how are cases to be explained in which great loss of 
weight is noted through purely menial trouble — though the 
person may have, throughout this period, all the food he 
cares to eat; and loses weight, moreover, at a greater rate 
than if he ate nothing at all? Probably the most remark- 
able case of this kind — one that cannot be explained by any 
of the ordinary laws of physiology — is that recorded by Rear- 
Admiral George W. Melville, U. S. N., and published in his 
Report to the Smithsonian Institute. The passage runs as 
follows : 

" It is on record that one individual in a New England 
town several months ago, actually entered a metallic burial 
casket and was sealed up for a period of one hour. He 
simply demanded that the glass plate over the head piece be 
not covered, and that the individuals conducting the test 
should look through the head-plate at intervals, so that he 
could smile at them. It was rather a ghastly test, but it was 
a successful one, although the individual undergoing the 
operation lost 5 pounds in the undertaking! In this test the 
man did not probably have 2 cubic feet of air to draw upon." 
(The Submarine Boat, p. 723.) Here then, we have a loss of 
weight that — if recorded correctly — cannot be explained by 
known laws of physiology, since the person undergoing the 
test took no bodily exertion, and the loss cannot be due to 
any of the known channels of loss. Would such a test indi- 
cate that soul-substance had been lost ? Evidently not, since 
the man continued to live. In such a case, then, we have a 
decrease in weight that cannot be explained by present-day 

Book Notices. 283 

physiology ; and, until such cases are in some measure ac- 
counted for, it is at least premature to assert or even propose 
that an observed loss of weight, at the moment of death, is 
due to any soul-substance, or that it has any necessary con- 
nection with soul or consciousness at all. While, then, I 
think that Dr. MacDougall has certainly made some most 
interesting and important discoveries, and that further 
experiment along these lines is greatly to be desired, we 
cannot hold out much hope that we shall, by such means, 
ever demonstrate that the human soul weighs an ounce 
— even though the reality of the losses be proved. The con- 
ditions attendant upon death are so little known, and the 
human organism is subject to such queer variations in 
weight, even when alive, that many and positive proofs will 
have to be forthcoming before his interpretation of the facts 
—even though they themselves should be established— can 
be accepted by science. 

Yours Sincerely, 



Up to the present time it has been mainly studies in abnormal 
psychology that have emphasized the interest and importance of 
subconscious mental phenomena. But such studies should be 
merely pioneerings of the way, preparatory to investigations of 
the role of subconsciousness in the normal human mind. A 
recent analysis of creative imagination — " Poetry and the Indi- 
vidual" by Dr. H. B. Alexander, (Putnam, 1906)— finds the clue 
to the interpretation of the instinct for beauty in the concealed 
rather than the revealed forms of mental action, and explains the 
aesthetic experience on the basis of the subconscious factors evi- 
denced in it. Attention is paid to the ethical and the meta- 
physical as well as the psychological aspect of the problem, thus 
subjecting the concrete results to the test of a fairly compre- 
hensive philosophical view. 

284 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

The Law of Suggestion, By Stanusy L. Krebs. 
The Science Press, Chicago, 1906. 

This little book is a summary of the facts of Hjrpnotism, and 
attempts to give them a definite law. This law is said to be as 
follows : — 

" Iteration produces a tract or line of least resistance in con- 
sciousness which functions, when it functions at all, along this 
very line/' 

This is probably true, but it does not diflFer from the law of all 
phenomena whatsoever, mechanical or otherwise, and so can 
hardly be recognized as throwing any light on hypnotic 

The main portion of the book is occupied with illustrations 
and discussions of various aspects of the phenomena, and for a 
manual that can acquaint the general public with the elements of 
h3rpnotism the book can be commended. 

Additional Members. 285 


Lodge, Sir Oliver J., The University, Birmingham, England. 
(Honorary Fellow.) 


Costa, Jose, 1926 Pine Street, San Francisco, Cal. 
Crichton-Clarke, W. H., 321 West 79th Street, New York City. 

Hawley, C. A., D. D. S., 206 E. State Street, Columbus, Ohio. 
MacDougall, Duncan, M. D., 131 Main Street, Haverhill, Mass. 
Madden, W. J., 220 Garfield Place, Brooklyn, N. Y. 
Phillips, Mrs. John C, 299 Berkeley Square, Boston, Mass. 
Powell, Mrs. H. M., 105 Hamilton Ave., Columbus, Ohio. 
\\ ilson, Mrs. Adela C, 161 West 130th Street, New York City. 


Bennett, Edward T., The Rock, Port Isaac, Cornwall, England. 

Blome, Frederick C, 27 Grand River Ave., Detroit, Mich, 

Cole, Fremont, i Madison Ave., New York City. 

Cox, Mrs. John Watson, 11 East 38th Street, New York City. 

Dugan, R. G. 

Edmunds, Miss Lucy, 5 Boylston Place, Boston Mass. 

Emerson, W. H., City Treasurer's Office, Brockton, Mass. 

Hall, Mrs. Willard P., 2615 Forest Ave., Kansas City, Mo. 

Heritage, L. T., Emporia, Kansas. 

Hoyt, A. W., 31 16 Lyndale Ave., So., Minneapolis, Minn. 

Kleberg, Rudolph, Yorktown, Texas. 

Koenig, Mme. Fedele, 69 Monmouth Street, Longwood, Mass. 

Library, Free Public, Worcester, Mass. 

Miles, Franklin, Fort Myers, Florida. 

Minassinan, Philip, 1321 Brandywine Street, Philadelphia, Pa, 

Morris, Dr. E. R., Fort Logan, Col. 

Murray, B. C, 112 West Main Street, Denison, Texas. 

Overton, Miss Gwendolen, 2827 Harvard Boulevard, Los 

Angeles, Cal. 
Porter, Dr. H. L., Seneca, Mo. 

Salesbury, Mrs. Lister, 316 Hudson Street, Hoboken, N. J. 
Smith, Mrs. Y. C. H., 328 Valerio Street, Santa Barbara, Cal. 
Smith, William Hawley, 2039 Knoxville Ave., Peoria, 111. 
V'lasto, Madame, i Avenue Bugeaud, Paris, France. 
Wilson, Leonard, 84 Vesey Street, Newark, N. J. 
Vandell, Miss Maude, care Monroe & Co., 7 Rue Scribe. Paris, 


Vol. L— No. 6. June, 1907. 



American Society for Psychical Research 



Some Instances of Subconscious Crea- 

tiTe Ima^natkm ... -287 
Telepathy 306 

Editouax. : 
Endowment Fund for Permanent Home 328 


Collection of Data 329 

Suggestions to Members - - - 330 

comibspondbncb 340 

Book Rkvibw 347 

Additional Members .... 350 


By Miss Frank Miller. 

The following paper was first published in the ''Archives de 
Psychologie/' edited by Prof. Th. Flournoy and Dr. Ed. Clap- 
arede. It has been translated for this Journal by its author, 
Miss Frank Miller. Miss Frank Miller was also the subject 
of the experiences and so narrates them at first hand. Miss 
Miller was at one time a student under me in the depart- 
ment of philosophy when I was at Columbia University and 
is now employed in a private school as a teacher and lecturer. 
She has been an intelligent student of the phenomena with 
which the Society is occupied, and her relation to all the 
work done under me exhibited the same intellectual appre- 
ciation of psychological problems. 

The paper is especially interesting and important as illus- 
trating those mental functions which at least simulate per- 
sonalities independent of the normal consciousness and it is 
here published as an example of those phenomena which 
many who are little acquainted with the complexities of psy- 
chic research mistake for such foreign personalities. There 
will be many occasions for publishing and criticizing phenom- 
ena of this kind. They are most important in estimating the 
nature and limitations of the supernormal, j^nd perhaps at 

288 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

some more or less distant future may throw light on the con- 
ditions which affect the development of supernormal experi- 
ences and the influences which disturb and distort the pass- 
age of foreign thoughts. 



Introduction by Prof. Th. Flournoy. 
I. Phenomena of instantaneous autosuggestion. 
II. " Glory to God," a dream poem. 
III. " The Moth and the Sun," hypnagogic poetry. 
iV. "Chi-wan-to-pel," a dream of hypnagogic hallucination. 


As is well known from numerous anecdotes, cases of un- 
expected apparition, when dreaming or half waking — ^works 
of imagination which possess a certain esthetic or literary 
value — are not extremely rare. What is rarer still, is that in- 
dividuals, favored by phenomena of this kind should have 
enough curiosity and psychological sense to undertake the 
analysis of these products of the automatic activity of the 
brain (or of their mind), to essay an elucidation of their 
origin, going back to anterior impressions, sometimes very 
distant which might have served as points of departure or as 
food to their subconscious inspiration. Nothing, however, 
would be more fitting than such attempts to unveil the se- 
crets of our psychical mechanism and to make us penetrate 
a little further into the obscure processes of intellectual crea- 
tion. And any document which can contribute to this end is 
not to be neglected. It is with this aim that we publish here- 
with some fragments of autobiograhy, which may be given as 
an example to many people whose mental life is more or less 
fertile in cases of automatism, but who do not know how to 
profit by their privileges and thus lose the precious resources 
which Nature has granted for the study of themselves. 

The author of these observations is a young American 

Some Instances of Subconscious Creative Imagination. 289 

woman, who studied for a semester at our university and 
who to-day pursues a brilliant career as a writer and lec- 
turer in the United States. Naturally given to introspec- 
tion and of very alert intelligence, she shows at the same 
time an impressionability and a vivacity of emotional re- 
action which would easily border on excess, were they not 
checked by a good dose of strong will and self-mastery. 
Miss Miller thus combines in a most happy way something 
of the peculiar temperament which the Anglo-Saxon authors 
designate by almost synonymous names of " automatist," 
" medium," " sensitive," etc., and all the advantages of a 
critical mind which is not satisfied with appearances ; thanks 
to which fact she can interest herself in cases of Spiritism, 
without becoming the prey of it like so many others. And 
her intention, in taking up her pen, has been precisely to 
make clear the phenomena of subconscious imagination 
which unfold themselves to mediums, by analogous cases, 
although less developed, that she has observed in the fast- 
nesses of her own mind. 

She does not possess, it is true, any special faculty of a 
medium, neither crystal vision, nor power to move (raise) 
tables, etc. But her very imaginative temperament, " hy- 
persensitive " as she herself calls it, permits one to think 
that, in a propitious center and with a little exaggeration, 
Miss Miller — if she had but lent herself to it — would have 
made an excellent medium and especially a medium for in- 
carnation. She seems to possess all the requisite aptitude 
for it, as the following case (No. 5) attests: on account of 
this trait of her nature which she had so well denominated 
"instantaneous autosuggestion," merely the sight of a con- 
ical towel upon her head, evoking her remembrance of 
Egyptian statues, plunges her into a kind of " cenesthetic " 
hallucination, a total, veritable beginning of a change of 
personality. It needs no more than this for persons of such 
a constitution, and imbued with occultism, or of an intelli- 
gence less mistress of itself and slower to re-assert itself, to 
serve as the germ for those curious stories of " anteriority," 
which, once born, develop like mushrooms and invade the 
entire " hypnoid " imagination. As a spiritualistic medium. 

290 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

Miss Miller would certainly be the reincarnation of some 
princess of historic or pre-historic antiquity (perhaps even 
of several) and she would not have failed to furnish us with 
interesting revelations of her Egyptian, Assyrian and even 
Aztec pre-existence (to judge by the trend of her observa- 
tions in No. 4). If it were only a queston of the pictur- 
esque, I could not help regretting that the firmness of her 
reason counterbalancing the inclination of her temperament 
should have always kept her from being wrecked on the 
flowery slopes of occult philosophy and would thus have 
robbed us of quite a number of fine subliminal romances! 
Let us console ourselves for this loss by the fragments of 
sane psychological observations which we owe her and of 
which the reader will find the translations below. 

They number 4. The first contains some minor ex- 
amples of " passing suggestions " which show with what 
facility, in this very sensitive nature, that the abstract idea 
or the simple recollection is transformed into vivid sensa- 
tion and present reality. The three (3) others are inter- 
esting cases of inspiration or of subconscious creation, most 
worthy to be placed beside those of literature. • 

The second piece is the history of a little poem that Miss 
Miller dreamed in full day during a sea voyage. She heard it 
and saw it written in her own writing. Aroused at the same 
instant by a call from her mother, she immediately told her of 
her dream, then wished to make note of it ; but the time to 
get a pencil, and the distraction due to the presence of her 
mother, sufficed to make uncertain the remembrance of sev- 
eral passages. Some months afterwards, when at leisure, 
she again took up her piece and modified it with the feeling 
of drawing nearer to the original text of the dream; but it 
is clear that this subjective feeling is not an absolute guar- 
antee that it is thus and it may be considered probable that 
a subconscious work of correction in the interval must have 
greatly influenced the first gush of poetic output to bring it 
to its second form which is notably more perfect. The ob- 
servation of Miss M. embraces three (3) parts: 

First, a glance over the weeks which preceded the dream, 
letting one see the dominating disposition which affected it, 

Some Instances of Subconscious Creative Imagination. 291 

the general mental state, in a word, the emotional atmos- 
phere, of which it bears the evident reflection. 

Second, the recitation of the dream itself. 

Third, the search for old recollections combined in its 
course and which, by their meeting in a sort of kaleidoscopic 
design, thus show that they have furnished all the contents 
for the inspiration of the dream. 

Miss Miller's conclusion is no more than a mosaic of 
fragments of her own remembrances assembled under the 
influence of her emotional state — in opposition to the spir- 
itualistic hypothesis of foreign intervention — is assuredly in- 
disputable. Nevertheless, it must not be accepted too liter- 
ally nor should one allow himself to be deceived by the run- 
ning comparison of the kaleidoscope, which comparison of 
drawing much nearer to the original text taken from mech- 
anism conceals, much more than it resolves the knot of the 
psychological problem. The chance grouping of pieces 
of glass at the end of a tube which is shaken, is scarcely ade- 
quate to explain the really marvellous combination, and re- 
modelling of some scattered memories into as well organized 
a whole as this poetry of three stanzas carrying to the high- 
est degree the seal of finality, of esthetic intention, of har- 
mony and studied gradation which would seem the exclusive 
right of a thoroughly aroused and deliberate human intel- 
ligence and which does not cease to astonish us when we 
meet it in the product of a dream. Thus it goes without 
saying that the discovery of stored up impressions to which 
creative fancy has lent its materials is far from dissipating 
all the obscurities and one does not pretend to have ex- 
plained by it, nor even described by it the real process by 
which these materials have been chosen, disassociated from 
their old surroundings and recombined into a new whole 
breathing forth an original emotion and sui generis, 

. Fragment III gives rise to the same reflections. The 
question here is a poem which automatically forced itself 
upon Miss Miller during a night on the railway, in that 
special condition, mid-way between waking and sleeping, 
only too well known to travellers, who, weary and stupe- 
fied are always on the point of dropping off to sleep with- 

292 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

out, however, losing themselves completely. The central 
idea of this " desain " the heavenly aspirations of poor mor- 
tals symbolized by the flight of the moth toward the §un— 
has nothing new in it and it is not to be doubted that Miss 
Miller must have met with it many times outside of the 
two (2) occasions of which she had a precise recollection. 
But if that takes away at the outset all pretext to seek an 
" occult " origin for so old an idea, it does not yet explain 
its incorporation into a piece of work and the development 
of the general theme under the particular form of the 
verses which were obtained. With much good sense, Miss 
Miller raises, in this connection, (as also in cases II and IV) 
the question of the leading part played by the rythmic fac- 
tors, the resemblance of swing and of meter between her 
hypnagogic poem and similar poetry familiar to her. It is 
certain that beside the material and substantial elements so 
to speak, of concrete ideas and remembrances, inspiration 
bores deep into our past experience and that it offers nu- 
merous abstract castings, motive schemes, habits of syntax, 
of prosody, etc., in short, all sorts of beaten paths, already 
well worn which cannot be kept account of in the genesis 
of automatic productions. 

The last example of Miss Miller's is a sort of little lyric 
drama which unfolded itself spontaneously in her imagi- 
nation, by visual and audible images, during the hypnagogic 
phase preceding complete sleep. Complete sleep did not 
come, however, for the drama having once come to a climax, 
Miss Miller aroused herself to write it down immediately. 
Remark the feeling of reciprocity, of passive waiting, also 
the elementary phenomena of hallucination, which, with 
her preceded the inception of automatism and which en- 
tirely correspond to the ordinary premonitory symptoms 
habitual to visions among mediums. She has also noted 
that she was at this time much preoccupied to find sonxe 
original literary subject; it is evidently in response to this 
desire — at the same time as an assemblage of latest emo- 
tional tendencies difficult to analyze — that her imagination 
furnished her the unusual history, of an Aztec warrior dying 

Same Instances of Subcoftsciotis Creative Imagination. 293 

in search of a consort worthy of him whose long-distant 
arrival he foresees. 

The facts related by Miss Miller recall to us a good but 
little known study of the psychology of dreams, where 
Stevenson confessed all that he owed the anonymous col- 
laboration of the mysterious little imps, "the little people, 
the Brownies" who outlined so gently in darkness the 
works of the romancer and furnished him gratis so many 
precious scenes, ready made. (R. L. Stevenson, A Chap- 
ter on Dreams, in "Across the Plains," etc.) For the imps 
or genii of Stevenson, as also for the Muse of the classic 
poets, we, who are serious people, prefer to substitute some 
wise principle, such as the mechanical association of ideas, 
the nocturnal dynamism of ", neurosis," the polygonal activ- 
ity of inferior psychism, the unconscious factor or the sub- 
liminal, etc.. Miss Miller wisely knew how to avoid both 
literary metaphor and scientific pedantry, in holding fast to 
the description of the phenomena such as they were, in such 
a way that the only theory which arises from her analysis is 
the most simple of all, — it is that she herself, and no one 
else, is the author of her automatic creations; she herself, 
although in a special state, different from the state of being 
awake in which she composed her poetry and ordinary ar- 
ticles. Thus one is brought to the problem of the variations 
and diverse modality of human personality, upon which ob- 
servations, precise facts in the manner of the following ones, 
is accumulating, will end by giving light without there being 
need — so Miss Miller has excellently well understood it — to 
have recourse to an hypothesis at the same time childish and 
complicated, which have credence in the best minds. 



Phenomena of Passing Suggestion or of Instantaneous 

I so designate, for lack of a better term, a curious phe- 
nomenon which I have observed in myself and which pre- 
sents itself under different forms. It consists in this, that 
at certain moments, and for a few instants only, the im- 

294 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

pressions and feelings of another suggest themselves so 
vividly to me that they appear to be mine, although as soon 
as the suggestion is passed, I am perfectly sure that such is 
not the case. 

Here are a few examples: 

1. I am extremely fond of caviar, of which the odor is, 
on the contrary, most repugnant to certain members of my 
family. Now if one of them, at the moment I commence to 
eat some, commences to express his disgust, this same dis- 
gust is immediately suggested to me so clearly that I ex- 
perience, for a few instants, a complete repugnance for the 
odor and taste of the dish. A minute and an effort are ne- 
cessary to dissipate this impression and to make me find it 
again as delicious as before. 

2. Here is, on the contrary, an example of the trans- 
mission of the impression of pleasure. There are certain 
perfumes and colognes which aflfect me disagreeably on ac- 
count of their strong odor, even to the point of nauseating 
me and making me almost ill. Nevertheless, if a lady starts 
to use her eau de cologne and begins telling me of its 
strength and its exquisite perfume, her pleasure becomes 
my own for an instant — probably for not more than from 3 
to 5 seconds — after which it disappears and my customary 
aversion for strong odors returns. It seems to me that it 
is much easier to dispel agreeable suggestions and to feel 
again my real impression of disgust, than the contrary. 

3. When, with great interest I follow a story, either 
read or heard, often I have the illusion which lasts for a 
minute, of really participating in the action, instead of 
simply reading or hearing of it. This is particularly strong 
in fine theatrical productions (for example, at the plays of 
Sarah Bernhardt, of Duse, or of Irving). The illusion be- 
comes so complete in certain touching scenes, that in " Cy- 
rano," for example, when Christian is killed and when S. 
Bernhardt flies to staunch the blood of his wound, I felt a 
real and poignant pain in my own heart, just where Chris- 
tian is supposed to receive the blow. This kind of sugges- 
tion can last a minute or a second. 

4. This momentary suggestion sometimes takes on very 

Some Instances of Subconscious Creative Imagination. 295 

curious aspects in which the role of imagination is accentu- 
ated. For example, I greatly enjoyed sea voyages and I 
have a particularly vivid remembrance of crossing the At- 
lantic. Now, recently some one showed me a fine photo- 
graph of a steamer in mid-ocean; instantly — and the illu- 
sion was of striking beauty and power — I felt the pulsations 
of the engines, the roll of the waves, the lunging of the ship. 
It could hardly have lasted more than a second, but during 
that barely appreciable instant, it was as if I were again in 
mid-ocean. The same phenomenon was repeated, although 
less strongly, in seeing again the photograph several days 

5. Here now is an example which fully throws into re- 
lief creative fantasy. One day I was in a bathroom, pre- 
paring to take a plunge and was about to tie a cloth around 
my head to protect my hair from the water. The cloth, 
which was of thick texture, had taken a conical shape, and 
I was standing before a mirror to attach it securely with 
pins. The conical form recalled, no doubt, the pointed 
head-dress of ancient Egypt, be this as it may, for a mo- 
ment, and with an almost stupefying clearness, it seemed to 
me that I was on a pedestal, a real Egyptian statue, in all its 
details — rigid members, one foot in advance of the other, 
insignia in hand, etc. It was truly superb and it was with 
regret that I felt the impression fade away as does a rain- 
bow, and like it to reappear more faintly before entirely dis- 

6. Still another phenomenon. An artist of a certain 
celebrity wished to illustrate some of my publications. Now 
in this matter I have my own ideas and am difficult to please. 
Well, I succeeded in making him portray landscapes, such as 
those on Lake Leman, where he had never been, and he also 
claimed that I could make him draw things that he had never 
seen and to give him the feeling of an ambient (or atmos- 
phere) that he had never felt; briefly, that I used him as he 
used his pencil, that is to say, as a simple instrument. 

I do not attach much importance to these divers in- 
stances of which I have told — they are so fleeting and so 
misty — and I think that all persons of a nervous, imagi- 

2% Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

native, sympathetic temperament which vividly feels ex- 
ternal impressions have similar experiences. In themselves 
they do not appear to me to be of great consequence, but 
they can help one to understand other less elementary facts. 
I think that the sympathetic temperament in people of the 
most normal health, plays a large role in the creation or the 
possibility of these '' suggested " images and impressions. 
And now could it not be that under certain favorable condi- 
tions, something as yet unheard of should come to cross the 
mental horizon, something as dazzling and splendid as a 
rainbow; and as natural, nevertheless, in its origin and 
cause? For surely these curious little experiences (I speak 
of the following) differ from the course of daily life as a 
rainbow differs from the blue heaven. 

The aim of the preceding observations is to serve as an 
introduction to two or three more important cases which 
follow; which in their turn, seem to me to be of a nature to 
throw some light upon the more complicated and mystifying 
phenomena of other persons who allow themselves to be 
taken in because they do not know how— or do not wish- 
to analyze the abnormal, subliminal or subconscious func- 
tions of their minds. 

" GLORY TO GOD." Dream poem. 

Nothing imaginable is more delightful than an ocean 
passage from Odessa to Genoa, in winter, with short but 
lovely stops at Constantinople, Smyrna, Athens and the 
ports of Sicily and the western coast of Italy. One must be 
a Philistine, devoid of all esthetic sense, not to be trans- 
ported with admiration before the glory of the Bosphorus, 
or not to feel one's very soul vibrate at the memory of 
Athens' past. — This is the trip which I had the privilege to 
take, aged 20 years, with my family, in 1898. 

After a long, hard voyage from New York to Stockholm, 
then on to St. Petersburg and Odessa, it was a genuine de- 
light to leave the world of great cities, noisy streets and 
business, — in a word to leave the bustling earth to enter into 

Some Instances of Subconscious Creative Imagination. 297 

the sphere of silence, blue sky and waves. I remained for 
long hours dreaming on the bridge of the boat, stretched out 
in a steamer chair; the history, legends and myths of the 
different countries seen in the distance came to me, as con- 
fused, — fused into a sort of luminous mist, through which 
actual things seemed to exist no longer, while dreams and 
ideas seemed the only veritable reality. At first I avoided 
everyone and kept apart, lost in my dreaming while every- 
thing truly great, beautiful and good came to my mind with 
new life and vigor. I passed also a good part of my days in 
writing to absent friends, in reading or in scribbling short 
verses as souvenirs of the different places that we visited. 
A few of these pieces were rather serious. 

But when the voyage drew to a close, the officers on 
board were most kind and amiable and I spent many amus- 
ing hours in teaching them English. 

On the coast of Sicily, in the port of Catania, I wrote a 
** Sailor's Song," which was hardly more than an adaptation 
of a well known song of the sea ^' brine, wine and damsels 
fine." In general all Italians sing well; and one of the 
officers singing at night, during his watch on the bridge 
made a great impression on me and gave me the idea of 
writing some words which could be adapted to his melody. 

A little while after this, I just missed reversing the old 
proverb " See Naples and die," for in the port of Naples I 
commenced by being, though not dangerously, most pain- 
fully ill; then I recovered enough to be able to land and to 
visit in a carriage, the principal sights of the town. The 
day's trip greatly tired me and as we intended to see Pisa on 
the morrow, I went back early to the boat and soon went to 
bed, without thinking of anything more serious than the 
handsome officers and hideous in Italy. 

From Naples to Leghorn takes one night by boat, during 
which I slept none too well — for my sleep is rarely deep or 
dreamless — and it seemed to me that my mother's voice 
aroused me just at the end of the following dream, which 
must have taken place, as a consequence, immediately before 
my awakening. 

At first I had a vague consciousness of the words, "when 


298 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 

the morning stars sang together " which served as a prelude, 
if I can so express myself, for a confused idea concerning the 
Creation and for powerful chorals which re-echoed through 
the whole universe. But with the characteristic confusion 
and strange contradiction which is the quality of a dream, all 
this was mixed with choruses of oratorios given by one of 
the best musical societies of New York and with indistinct 
memories of Milton's " Paradise Lost." Then, slowly, dis- 
tinct words arose from this chaos and they then appeared 
in three verses, in my writing on a piece of ordinary writing 
paper, blue-lined, on a page of my old note book in which I 
write my verses and which I always carry with me ; — briefly 
told they appeared to me precisely as they were in truth a 
few minutes later. 

It was then that my mother called to me, " Here, here, 
wake up! You can not sleep all day and see Pisa at the 
same time!" That made me jump from my berth exclaim- 
ing, " Don't speak to me ! Not a word ! I have just had 
the most beautiful dream of my life, a real poem ! I saw and 
heard the words, verses and even the refrain. Where is my 
old note book? I must write it this minute before I forget 
what it was." My mother, accustomed to see me writing at 
all hours, took my whim in good nature and even admired 
my dream, which I poured forth to her as fast as" I could 
form my phrases. Several minutes were necessary to find 
my note book and a pencil and to slip on a garment; but 
short as was this delay, it sufficed to slightly dissipate the 
immediate remembrance of the dream, so that when I was 
ready to write, the words had lost some of their clearness. 
Nevertheless, the first strophe came readily, but the second 
was found with more difficulty, and a great effort was neces- 
sary to recall the last one, abstracted as I was with the idea 
that T was a rather ridiculous figure, scratching away, 
perched half dressed in the upper berth of my stateroom 
with my mother making fun of me. The first form leaves 
much to be desired. My duties as cicerone then occupied all 
my tune, until the end of our long voyage (it was several 
lonths later, while studying in the University of Lausanne) 
lat the thought of the dream came to haunt me in the calm 

Same Instances of Subconscious Creative Imagination, 299 

of solitude and I made a second and more exact wording of 
ray poem and I wish to say one much more faithful to the 
original than the first. I give its two forms here. 

First form : 

When God had first made Sound 
A myriad ears sprang into being 
And throughout all die Universe 
Rolled a mighty echo: 
"Glory to the God of Somid !" 

When beauty (light) was first given by God, 
A myriad eyes sprang out ^ to see 
And hearing ears and seemg eyes 
Again gave forth that mighty song: 
"Glory to the God of Beauty (Light) !" 

When Ck)d has first given Love 

A myriad hearts leapt up; 

And ears full of music, eyes full of Beauty, 

Hearts all full of love sang: 

"Glory to the God of Love !" 

Second form (more exact) : 

When the Eternal first made Sound 
A myriad ears sprang out to hear, 
And throughout all uie Universe 
There rolled an echo deep and clear: 
"All glory to the (k>d of Sound!" 

When the Eternal first made Light 
A myriad eyes sprang out to look. 
And hearing ears and seeing eyes 
Once more a mighty choral took : 
"All glory to the Ck>d of Light!" 

When the Eternal first gave Love, 
A myriad hearts sprang into life; 
Ears filled with music, eyes with light. 
Pealed forth with hearts with love all rife: 
"All glory to the God of Love!" 

Never having been an adept of Spiritism nor of the Con- 
tranatural (which to me is distinct from the Supernatural) I 
started to work some months later to try to discover the 
probable cause or necessary conditions for such a dream. 

What struck me the most and what is yet an inexplicable 
fantasy is that contrary to the incomplete narration in which 
I strongly believe, my poem put the creation of light in the 
second place instead of the first. It may be interesting to 

300 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 

recall that Anagoras also makes the cosmos come from the 
chaos by means of a whirlwind — ^which in general is accom- 
panied by a production of sound. But at this time I had 
not studied philosophy and knew nothing of Anagoras nor 
of his theories of the views which I unconsciously followed. 
I was equally ignorant of the name of Leibnitz and conse- 
quently of his doctrine of " dum Deus calculat fit mundus." 
But let us come to what I was able to discover as probable 
sources of my dream. 

To begin with, Milton's " Paradise Lost," of which we 
had a fine edition at home, illustrated by Gustave Dore and 
with which I was familiar from childhood, the Book of Job 
which was read to me as far back as I can remember. Now 
if my first verse is compared with the first words of " Para- 
dise Lost," they are seen to be the same meter. 

Of man's first disobedience — 

When the Eternal first made sound — 

Moreover the general idea of my poem slightly recalls 
various passages of Job, also one or two pieces from Haydn's 
oratorio, " The Creation " (which figured confusedly at the 
beginning of the dream). I remember that at the age of 15 
I was much excited by an article which my mother read me 
on " The Idea spontaneously creating the object," so excited 
that I passed nearly the whole night without sleeping, won- 
dering what it all could mean. From 9 to 16 years I at- 
tended a Presbyterian church, which had for pastor a most 
scholarly man, at present the president of a well-known 
Seminary. Now one of my earliest remembrances of him 
was when a very little girl, seated in our big pew and forcing 
myself to keep awake, without being able for all the world to 
understand what he said about the " Chaos," the " Cosmos " 
and the " Gift of Love." 

As to dreams, I remember that once at the age of 15 
years, during my preparations for an examination in geom- 
etry, having gone to bed without being able to solve a prob- 
lem, 1 awoke in the middle of the night, sat on my bed and 
repeated a formula which I had just found in a dream, then 
fell asleep again and on the morrow all was clear in my 

Some Instances of Subconscious Creative Imagination. 301 

mind. Something exactly similar happened with a Latin 
word which I tried to find. A thousand times I have 
dreamed that very distant friends wrote me and this just 
before the arrival of their letters which I explain very sim- 
ply by the fact that in my sleep I calculated approximately at 
what time they should have written me, and that the idea of 
the real arrival of the letter was substituted in a dream for 
my waiting for its probable arrival. I draw the con- 
clusion from the fact that several times I dreamed that I 
received letters which did not come later. 

To summarize : When I think of the preceding consider- 
ation and of the fact that I had just written a certain number 
of verses at the time of my dream, this one does not appear 
to me as extraordinary as at the first moment. It seems to 
me to result from a mingling in my mind of " Paradise Lost," 
of Job, and of the *' Creation," with notions of the " Idea 
creating spontaneously its Object," of the " Gift of Love," 
of the " Chaos," and of the " Cosmos." Just as little irregu- 
lar pieces of colored glass in a kaleidoscope form rare and 
magnificent designs, so, in my opinion, the fragments of 
philosophy, esthetics and religion which were combined in 
me, — under the stimulation of the voyage and all the coun- 
tries seen, joined to the great silence and the intangible 
charm of the sea — to produce this beautiful dream. " Only 
this and nothing more ! " 

" THE MOTH TO THE SUN." Hypnagogic poem. 

My last day before leaving Geneva for Paris had been 
most exhausting. I took a trip to Mont Saleve, and on my 
return, found a telegram which obliged me to pack my 
trunks, put my affairs in order and leave in two hours. My 
fatigue was so great that in the train I could hardly sleep an 
hour. It was terribly hot in the ladies' compartment. 
About 4 A. M. I raised my head from my valise which 
served me as pillow, sat up and stretched my stiff limbs. A 
little moth fluttered toward the light which shone across the 
window upon the glass partition ; and the waving of the cur- 
tain I noticed by the movement of the train. I lay down 
again and tried to sleep ; I almost succeeded ; that is to say 

302 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 

I found myself as near asleep as it is possible to be without 
losing consciousness. It was then that the piece of verse 
below suddenly came to me. It was impossible for me to 
banish it from my mind, despite repeated efforts. I took a 
pencil and wrote it down immediately. 

The Moth to the Sun. 

I longed for Thee when first I crawled to consciousness. 
My dreams were all of Thee when in the chrysalis I lay. 
Oft myriads of my kind beat out their lives 
Against some feeble spark once caught from Thee. 
And one hour more — and my poor life is gone; 
Yet my last effort, as my first desire, shall be 
. But to approach thy glory ; then, having gained 
One raptured glance, FU die content. 
For I, the source of beauty, warmth and life 
Have in his perfect splendor once beheld! 

Note Written by Prof. Floumoy. 

Miss Miller showed me her original text, written in pen- 
cil and most irregularly as a result of the movement of the 
train. It bears one or two words crossed out or corrections 
of details, the same scribbling as the whole and which she 
made immediately in re-reading the piece as soon as it was 
finished. The only noteworthy correction being in the first 
verse of which the first form was " I longed for thee when 
consciousness first woke," these last three words are con- 
nected by a long line which leads to the bottom of the page 
where is found the variation " first I crawled to conscious- 

(Signed) T. F. 

This little poem made a great impression on me. At the 
outset I did not succeed in finding a sufficiently clear and 
direct explanation. But a few days afterward, having taken 
up a philosophic article which I had read the preceding win- 
ter in Berlin, and which greatly delighted me and reading it 
aloud to a friend, I fell upon these words : 

" The same passionate aspiration of the moth toward the 
star, of man toward God." I had entirely forgotten them, 
but it seemed to me most evident that it was they which 
leapt out in my dream poem. Besides a drama entitled 

Some Instances of Subconscious Creative Imagination. 303 

" The Moth and the Flame/' which I had seen a few years 
since, likewise came to my mind as another possible cause 
for my piece. It is easy to see how many times the word 
" MOTH " had been impressed upon me. I may add that 
in the spring I read a collection of selected pieces from 
Byron which I greatly enjoyed, and which I often had with 
me. Now there is a great similarity in rhythm and feeling 
between my last two verses, 

" For I, the source, etc.," and these two of Byron's : 

"Now let mc die as I have lived in faith 
Nor tremble tho' the Universe should quake I" 

It is possible that having so often read this piece it may 
have had an influence on me and contributed to prepare my 
inspiration as much in the point of view of the meaning as in 
the rythmic form. 

In comparing this poem which came to me in the state of 
half-dream on the one hand with those which I write being 
fully awake ; and, on the other hand with the preceding piece 
which came to me in complete sleep, these three categories 
appear to me to form a perfectly natural series: the inter- 
mediary case forms a simple and easy transition between the 
two extremes and thus removes all suspicion of " occult " 
intervention which one might have had in regard to the 
piece which was composed while fully asleep. 

CHI-WAN-TO-PEL, a hypnagogic drama. 

Borderland phenomena, or if you prefer, the composi- 
tions of the brain in a state of half-dream interest me par- 
ticularly and I believe that an intelligent and minute investi- 
gation of them would do much to clear up mysteries and to 
dissipate the superstition of so-called " spirits." It is with 
this in view that I send you a case which in the hands of a 
person not inclined to give the exact truth and having no 
scruples, would allow himself to amplify and touch it up, and 
could perfectly well have been given a fantastic or romantic 
form to rival the cycles of your mediums. I have compared 
the following observations as faithfully as possible, with my 
notes taken immediately after the half-dream in question and 

304 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

I confine myself to place between brackets one or two re- 
marks and letters referring to the subsequent explanatory 

Observation of 17 March, 1902, 12:30 A. M. 

1st Phase. After a troubled and restless evening I went 
to bed at 11:30. I was most agitated, incapable of sleep, 
although very tired. I had the feeling of being in a recep- 
tive mood. There was no light in the room. I closed my 
eyes and had the feeling of waiting for something to happen. 
Then I relaxed entirely and remained as completely passive 
as possible. Lines, sparks and fiery spirals passed before 
my eyes, symptoms of nervousness and ocular fatigue. 
Then the impression that something was about to be com- 
municated to me. It seemed to me that these words were 
repeated within me, " Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth. 
Open thou my ears." A sphynx's head suddenly appeared 
in the field of vision, with an Egyptian setting; then it was 
effaced. At this moment my parents called me and I replied 
to them in a perfectly coherent manner; a proof that I was 
not asleep. 

2d Phase. Suddenly the apparition of an Aztec person- 
age, complete in all details, an open hand with large fingers, 
head in profile armed, a head-dress resembling the feathered 
one of the American Indians, etc. The whole was like the 
carvings on Mexican monuments (see note A). The name 
" Chi-wan-to-pel " was formulated, syllable by syllable and 
it seemed to belong to the personage just mentioned, son of 
an Inca of Peru (note B). Then a swarm of persons, 
horses, a battle, the sight of a dream city (note C). A 
curious pine with knotted branches, of pointed sails upon a 
bay of purple water, a perpendicular cliflf, a confusion of 
sounds such as Wa-ma, Wa-ma, etc. (A break.) The 
scene changed into a wood. Trees, brushwood, hedges, etc. 
Chi-wan-to-pel leaps up from the south, with a blanket of 
bright colors, red, blue and white, around him. An Indian, 
in a costume of deer skin with beads and trimmed with 
feathers (note D) advances crouching, and prepares to draw 
his bow against Chi-wan-to-pel, who presents his breast in 

Some Instcmces of Subconscious Creative Imagination, 305 

an attitude of defiance (note E) and the Indian, fascinated 
at the sight of this, steals away and disappears in the forest. 
Chi-wan-to-pel sinks upon a hillock, lets his horse graze at 
the end of his tether and delivers himself of the following 
soliloquy (all in English) : 

" From the end of the spinal column of these continents 
(probable allusion to the Andes and the Rocky Mountains), 
from the extremity of the lowlands, I have wandered during 
a hundred moons, after having left my father's palace (note 
F) always pursued by my mad desire to find * her, who will 
understand.' With jewels I have tempted many fair ones; 
with kisses, I have tried to pluck the secret from their hearts/ 
with acts of prowess I won their admiration. (He reviews 
the women whom he has known.) Chi-ta, the princess of 
my race — ^was silly, a fool, vain as a peacock, thinking of 
nothing but jewels and perfumes. Ta-nan, the young 
peasant girl, bah ! a sow, nothing more than breast and belly 
and thinking of nothing but pleasure. And then Ki-ma, the 
priestess, a parrot, repeating the empty phrases learnt from 
the priests ; all of which showed her to be affected and dis- 
trustful, a hypocrite, with no learning nor sincerity. Alas! 
Not one who understands me, not even one, akin to me, nor 
a soul sister to my soul (note G). There is not one among 
all of them who has known my soul, not one who could read 
my real thoughts, far from it — Not one capable of mounting 
with me to luminous heights, or to spell with me the super- 
human word of Love ! " 

(A break.) He cries out in grief: " In the entire world, 
there is not even one ! I have sought in an hundred tribes. 
I have grown old in the hundred moons since I began my 
search. Will there never be ten who will know my soul.'* 
Yes, by the sovereign God ; — yes ! But one thousand moons 
will wax and wane before her pure soul will be born. And 
it is from another world that her fathers will come to this 
one. Pale will be her skin and hair. She will know pain 
before her mother has brought her forth. Suffering will 
accompany her; she too will search — and will find no one 
who understands her. Many suitors would wish for her 
favor but there will not be one who will understand her. 

306 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 

Temptation will often assail her soul — ^but she will not falter. 
In her dreams I will come to her and she will understand 
(note H). I have preserved my body inviolate (note I). I 
am come ten thousand moons before her and she will come 
ten thousand moons too late. But she will understand! It is 
not but once in all ten thousand moons that such a soul as 
hers is born ! " 

(A break.) A viper issues from the brushwood and 
glides to him and bites his arm, then attacks the horse, who 
succumbs first. Then Chi-wan-to-pel to the horse : " Fare- 
well, faithful brother! Enter into thy rest! I have loved 
thee and thou hast served me well. Farewell I will soon 
rejoin thee ! " Then to the serpent : " Thanks, little sister, 
thou hast *put an end to my pilgrimages ! " Then he cries 
out in grief and voices his prayer: " O Sovereign God, take 
me soon ! I have sought to know thee and to keep thy law ! 
O allow not my body to stink and to serve as food for 
eagles! " A smoking volcano is seen in the distance, (note 
K) the rumbling of an earthquake is heard, followed by a 
land-slide. Chi-wan-to-pel cries out in the delirium of suf- 
fering, while the earth engulfs his body — " I have preserved 
my body inviolate — Ah ! she will understand ! Ja-ni-wa-ma, 
Ja-ni-wa-ma, thou dost understand ! " 

Remarks and Explanatory Notes. 

You will admit, I think, that as a work of the imagination 
this dream fantasy merits some attention. It is not lacking 
in complexity and strangeness in its form and it can be said 
to possess a certain originality in the combination of themes. 
It could be made into a sort of melo-drama in one act. If I 
were a person inclined to exaggerate the importance of com- 
positions of this kind, and incapable of recognizing in this 
curious dream-medley many familiar elements, I could allow 
myself to go so far as to regard Chi-wan-to-pel as my " con- 
trolling spirit," my spirit guide as so many mediums have 
done. It is hardly necessary to tell you that I do nothing 
of the sort. Let us look for the probable sources of this 
little romance. 

First as to the name Chi-wan-to-pel: One day, fully 

Some Instances of Subconscious Creative Imagination. . 307 

awake, the word A-ha-ma-ra-ma surrounded by Assyrian 
decorations suddenly came to my mind, and I had only to 
compare other names already known to me, such as Ahazu- 
erus, Asurabama (the second who manufactured cuneiform 
bricks) to divine its origin. Just the same; compare Chi- 
wan-to-pel with Po-po-cat-a-pel, the name of a volcano of 
Central America, as we had been taught to pronounce it: 
the resemblance is striking. 

I note also that the evening before, I received a letter 
from Naples, on the envelope of which was a view of 
Vesuvius smoking in the distance (K). In my childhood, I 
was particularly interested in Aztec fragments and the 
history of Peru and of the Incas (A & B). Recently I had 
visited a very fine Indian exhibit with their costumes, etc., 
which have found a mention in my dream (D). The cele- 
brated passage in Shakespeare (Julius Caesar, Act IV, scene 
3) where Cassius presents his bared breast to Brutus fur- 
nished me with an easy explanation from the scene (E) and 
the scene (F) recalls to me both the story of Bhudda leaving 
the paternal house and the history of Rasselas, Prince of 
Abyssinia of Samuel Johnson. There are also many details 
which make one think of the Song of Hiawatha, the Indian 
epic of Longfellow, whose rythm has been tmconsciously 
followed in several passages of Chi-wan-to-pel's soliloquy. 
His ardent desire to find some one like unto him (G) shows 
the greatest analogy with the feelings of Siegfried for 
Brunhild, so marvelously expressed by Wagner. Finally 
(I) I had recently heard a lecture by Felix Adler on the 
" Inviolate Personality." 

In the fevered life of New York, a thousand diverse ele- 
ments are often fused with the impression of only one day or 
week; concerts, lectures, books, reviews, theatres, etc., 
enough to put one's brain into a ferment. It is alleged that 
whatever enters into the mind is never completely lost, that 
the association of ideas, or a certain combination of circum- 
stances suffices to bring back the faintest impression. This 
can apply to many cases. For example, the details of the 
dream city (C) reproduced almost exactly those of the cover 
of one of the magazines which I had seen recently. And it 

308 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 

is possible that a summary of the whole matter is nothing 
more than a mosaic of the following elements : 

A. Aztec fragments and history of the Incas of Peru. 

B. Pizarro in Peru. 

C. Pictures and illustrations, recently seen in various maga- 


D. Indian exposition, with costumes. 

E. Remembrances of the passage in Shakespeare's Julius 


F. Departure of Bhudda and of Rasselas. 

G. & H. Siegfried yearning for Brunhild. 

r. Remembrance of a lecture on the " Inviolate Person- 
K. View of Vesuvius seen on the envelope of a letter. 

And now, if I add that the preceding days I had been in 
quest of an " original idea " many efforts are not needed to 
conceive that this mosaic was formed of itself, by means of 
the thousands of impressions which are met necessarily in a 
very busy life, and that it should have taken this form of a 
dream fantasy. It was about midnight and it is possible that 
my fatigue and mental distress may have in a measure, 
troubled or deformed the course of my thoughts. 

P. S. I fear that the desire for exactness may have al- 
lowed me to g^ive my observations a too personal turn. But 
I hope (and this is my excuse) that they can help other per- 
sons to unravel the knotty problems of cases of the same 
kind which annoy them and may contribute to the elucida- 
tion of the more complex phenomena presented by mediums. 

By James H. Hyslop. 

Telepathy has been such a solvent of difficulties in psychic 
research when people were not willing to admit what they 
did not know, that it is time to " take stock " of this term. 
Hardly a phenomenon during the last twenty years has ap- 
peared that has not at least suggested to certain kinds of 
minds the explanation of it by some sort of " telepathy." In 
season and out of season it has played a prominent part in 

Telepathy. 309 

the attempt to escape some other and perhaps more simple 
theory. But the time has come to ascertain with some 
clearness what we mean by it. We think that " mind read- 
ing " and " thought transference " make good synonyms for 
it and so they may, but they are no clearer conceptions when 
we are pressed for their exact meaning. The scepticism 
which prevails in scientific quarters as to the mere facts of 
" telepathy " is more than half due to the circumstance that 
we can never learn from popular usage what definite limits 
it is supposed to have, or what are the laws and conditions 
under which the phenomena denoted by it may happen to 
occur. If popular conceptions about it were clear and if the 
facts which the untrained mind tries to explain by it had any 
simple general characteristics which the assumed expla- 
nation made intelligible we might take a charitable view of 
the term. But such a medley of real or alleged phenomena 
is referred to it that the term is like " special providence " 
for explanation. It is assumed to explain any coincidence 
that may happen to occur in the experiences of two minds, 
or any class of supernormal phenomena that are mental. 
This overweight of meaning attached to it is just the cir- 
cumstance that makes the scientific man pause at its use and 
application. We can explain the distribution of the planets 
by gravitation but not the distribution of animals. Science 
has some respect to relevancy when it classifies effects under 
causes, but the extravagant believer in telepathy seems to 
know no bounds to his credulity if only he can evade some- 
thing more rational but less respectable. 

In popular parlance " telepathy " is a name for a process 
supposed to explain the supernormal acquisition of informa- 
tion without regard to any limits whatever. If Mr. Smith 
happens to learn supernormally some facts which can be 
shown to have once been known by Mr. Jones, " telepathy " 
is supposed to explain them, and they may even be con- 
strued as evidence of this. If Mr. Jones does not happen to 
know them, or to have experienced them, and we learn that 
some friend of his did know them we are confronted with 
" telepathy " a trais. This means that in some way Smith is 
put into rapport with Jones's friend and filches the facts 

510 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

from his memory telepathically. Or if Jones's friend does 
not know them and they happen to be known by his friend 
Barlow whom Jones does not know the rapport with Barlow 
is established through the relation of his friend to Jones and 
the process is as easy as before. In this way " telepathy " 
is made to do anything and to indicate an cui libitum access 
to the minds and memories of all living persons. That is a 
capacious power which it is hard to defeat in an argument, 
especially when it is assumed a priori and without one iota of 
scientific evidence in its support. It is so arbitrary in its 
application that it takes no account of the fact that the 
process never seems to occur except when it is necessary to 
simulate some other explanation and it bcomes the part of 
men who have no sense of humor to believe anything rather 
than confess ignorance or agnosticism. 

If those who use " telepathy " so freely to explain mys- 
teries would take the trouble to examine the conditions under 
which it obtained currency and the facts which required 
its acceptance they would have no difficulty in understanding 
the limits of its use. Its original meaning was "a coinci- 
dence between two persons' thoughts which require a causal ex- 
planation" It is to be noticed in this conception that it is not 
a name for a cause of any kind. It but denominates a fact 
for which we have still to seek and find the cause. This is 
a most important circumstance to keep in mind, as it assigns 
a decided limitation to the usage of the term which is so pop- 

The phenomena which gave rise to the employment 
of the term were just what the definition indicates, namely, 
coincidences between the thoughts of persons which were 
not due to chance. It is probable that the performances of 
Bishop and Cumberland with their claims of "mind read- 
ing " gave the problem of investigating and explaining such 
coincidences its emphasis and importance. But their per- 
formances, with similar others described in books of magic, 
were not all that suggested the idea. There were and arc 
spontaneous coincidences between peoples' thoughts which 
were not exposed to the suspicion of prestidigitation and so 
made the question of their explanation a more serious one. 

Telepathy. 311 

The situation gave rise to the effort to organize the investi- 
gation of such phenomena, and experiment succeeded in re- 
producing similar coincidences under test conditions. The 
phenomena did not seem explicable by chance, but seemed 
to indicate some causal nexus between antecedent and con- 
sequent, and as this was unusual the best thing to do was 
to denominate it by a term which did not carry with it any 
associations with known normal agencies. 

There are three distinct groups of coincidences to which 
the popular and unscientific mind applies the term " tele- 
pathy," and only one of these to which the scientific mind 
applies it. The first group of facts is that which is com- 
prised of the present active mental states of the agent ob- 
tained by a percipient. The agent is the person whose 
thoughts are supposedly transmitted: the percipient is the 
person who receives the thoughts transferred. The second 
group of phenomena consists of those facts which a per- 
cipient obtains and which the agent present at the experi- 
ment is not thinking of at the time, but has them in his 
memory. They represent experiences or knowledge which 
he once had and which he may or may not recall at the time 
they are reproduced for him by another person or psychic. 
The third group of facts consists of those which represent 
events not known by the agent or sitter present at an ex- 
periment but which can be proved to have been the knowl- 
edge of some other living person at the time and at any dis- 
tance imaginable from the place of the experiment. This 
assumes that the percipient can select at any distance from 
the memory of any living person such facts as are desirable 
to use for the impersonation of such persons as may suit the 
medium's object, and this consciously or unconsciously. 
This is the most comprehensive application which the term 
obtains and is complicated with various incredible concep- 
tions of rapport. 

The first of these conceptions of the term is the only 
one that is entitled to any scientific standing. It derived 
its significance from several considerations which associated 
it as a phenomenon more closely with what is known re- 
garding the law of cause and effect than in any case in- 

312 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

volved in the second and third group of facts. The first 
thing was the coincidence between the agent's present 
thoughts and those which the percipient had at the same 
time. But this was only one aspect of the case. The sug- 
gestive circumstance was the fact that in mechanical phe- 
nomena the antecedent is supposed to be the cause of the 
consequent and it is the activity of the antecedent that en- 
ables us to assume causality in its relation to the consequent. 
The fact that the two are associated closely in time and 
space is the circumstance that enables us to prove this 
causality, tho it might not actually constitute it. But it is 
the analogy of telepathic with mechanical coincidences in 
respect of this activity that makes it plausible at least to 
suppose a causal nexus when the coincidence is observed. 
If it were not for this circumstance it is possible that we 
should never think of the direct causal connection in tel- 
epathic phenomena. It is the present active state of con- 
sciousness that we can assume to be a cause, just as any 
present active state in a physical object is presumably the 
cause of some event invariably associated with it. It is 
probably this fact which gives telepathy its real or apparent 
consistency with the materialistic interpretation of mental 
phenomena. But whether this be true or not, it is the ex- 
istence of mental coincidences between different persons 
taken in connection with the assumption that active con- 
ditions of a subject may be causal of invariable consequents 
that makes the idea of a causal relation of a supernormal 
type between mind and mind a reasonable assumption. 

Now the evidence of some causal relation is apparent in 
such records as the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical 
Research, and I shall not illustrate them here. I shall either 
refer those who are not convinced of the phenomena to 
those records or take for granted that the phenomena are 
numerous enough to justify the assumption of a nexus not 
due to chance in such cases, and then proceed to indicate 
what " telepathy " means when applied to them. All that 
" telepathy " means and meant in reference to these facts is 
that they are not due to chance, but that some causal rela- 
tion exists between the antecedent and consequent. It does 

Telepathy. 313 

not explain the phenomena in any respect. It is not a name 
for a cause of any kind whatever. It only indicates that the 
normal causes are not present or at least not discoverable. 
In so far as causality is concerned the term denotes no posi- 
tive agency, but is purely negative in its import. It does 
not name a known cause, but indicates that the known 
causes do not explain the facts and that some as yet un- 
known cause must account for what is not due to chance and 
so they bear the marks of having some causal agency yet to 
be found. 

This limitation of the meaning of the term should be em- 
phasized and repeated. It is not the name of any cause or 
of any process by which the causal nexus between persons' 
thoughts is established. It does not explain the phenom- 
enon, as is too frequently supposed, but actually leaves it 
wholly unexplained. It is merely a convenient expression 
to denote that we have gone beyond the normally explicable 
and are still seeking the explanatory cause. Hence so far 
from explaining thought coincidences it explains nothing 
whatever. It only names the facts which require explana- 
tion and any attempt on the part of a psychic researcher to 
deceive the reader with the assumption that phenomena are 
explained by it deserves the severest scientific reprobation. 
It may well indicate that a phenomenon is not explained in 
some other way, or at least is not evidence of that explana- 
tion, but it is not a name for any positive causal agency that 
is known, tho it may become known under further investi- 
gation. It only refers a fact to some cause yet unknown 
even when it implies that a certain specific cause is not in- 
dicated by the facts. The fact that it may exclude the belief 
in spirit agency does not make it an explanation of the phe- 
nomena concerned. It merely indicates that the phenomena 
which had associated themselves with spiritistic causes are 
to be explained by the same causes which were supposed to 
extend beyond the normal action of sense without present- 
ing evidence of these immaterial agencies. 

It is because the term has been constantly used to denote 
an alternative to spiritism that its original meaning has been 
forgotten or ignored. The conception of spirit is actually 

314 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

explanatory of certain phenomena and in criticizing the evi- 
dence for this view of them the possibility of telepathy came 
in to eliminate certain facts assumed to be evidence of the 
former and in this comparison of the two ideas telepathy 
borrowed an explanatory import which it did not and does 
not possess. The reason for this is the simple fact that 
every problem has two distinct aspects which we too fre- 
quently forget. They are the explanatory and the evidential. 
They are often so closely associated that they may be 
mistaken for one another. They should be briefly examined. 

The explanatory function of a conception is to denote 
a cause that will account for the occurrence of an event. 
Thus gravitation is supposed to explain why objects fall to 
the ground, sunlight is an agent in accounting for the growth 
of vegetation, heat is an explanation of expansion in bodies, 
electricity names a cause in a great variety of phenomena, 
and so on with hundreds of terms. Now when any new phe- 
nomenon appears demanding an explanation and we refer 
it to one of these we already take their existence for granted 
and the new phenomenon is not an evidence of their exist- 
ence. For instance I find a group of new phenomena in the 
behavior of certain physical bodies, phenomena exhibiting 
certain resemblances to the known action of electricity, and 
I at once refer the phenomena to that source. I do so to 
avoid the hypothesis of new agencies. If known causes ex- 
plain the facts I have no reason to interpret these facts as 
evidence of new agencies, and the new facts are not evidence 
of the existence of the assumed causes. They are simply 
explained by them. If they were not explained by them we 
should have a right to seek new causes to account for their 
occurrence. Tlie possibility of appealing to existing causes 
to account for new facts makes it unnecessary to set up new 
agents in the cosmos, and, tho such new agents may happen 
to exist, we have to seek elsewhere for evidence of the fact 
Some other reality explains the phenomena equally well and 
when that is known to exist on other grounds the new facts 

not appear as evidence of it. They are simply explained 

evidential aspect of a problem is much narrower 


Telepathy. 315 

than its explanatory. There are fewer situations in which 
facts serve as evidence of the existence of a cause than when 
they are explicable by it. Facts will serve to prove the ex- 
istence of a cause only when they cannot be explained by 
known agencies. As long as alternative causes may exist, 
the facts explicable by any one of them are not proof of any, 
and especially not proof of a new cause whose existence may 
possibly be questioned, or for which the evidence is less than 
well known agents. Let me illustrate the evidential and 
explanatory aspect of one problem, namely, the velocity 
of light. A phenomenon in the eclipse of the moons of 
Jupiter served to prove, or render most probable, the fact 
that light had velocity. The supposition that it had ve- 
locity might very well have been entertained as a corollary 
of certain other facts, but proof may have been wanting. 
Its transmission from the sun to the earth was an admitted 
fact and that it had velocity or required a period of time 
for this transmission could be explained by this velocity, if 
we could show that time was involved. Consequently when 
certain phenomena were observed in the eclipses of the 
moons of Jupiter, they seemed to prove that this time ele- 
ment was involved in the transmission of light. For in- 
stance it was noticed that at one period the eclipses of a 
moon was earlier than the calculated astronomical time and 
at another later than this. This fact coincided with the 
fact that at one of these periods the light had to traverse 
the distance represented by the diameter of the earth's orbit 
greater than at the other period. Consequently the differ- 
ence of time was an evidence of velocity in the transmission 
of light. In the ordinary phenomena of sunlight and its 
transmission there is no situation in which this velocity is 
indicated, and until we could bring the phenomena of light 
under the law of luminous undulations there would be no 
reason to suppose from that circumstance that it required 
time for its transmission. But the proof that it required 
this time created a presumption, if it was not proof, that 
undulations were the cause of the lapse of time in the trans- 
mission, in accordance with known laws in vibratory phe- 
nomena, while the lapse of time was not an explanation of 

316 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

the facts but an evidence of their existence. Or to take a 
much simpler instance. Sunlight is the cause of vegetable 
growth, at least one of its causes, but this growth is not the 
evidence of sunlight. Other facts have proved to us that 
the sun shines and we have found in the progress of inquiry 
that the sunlight is more or less necessary to the gjrowth of 

Now when it comes to the phenomena which gave rise 
to the idea of telepathy we found a situation in which we 
had new facts not explicable by known and familiar causes, 
namely, sense perception of the normal type. The ordinary 
explanation was excluded, but a new one was not thereby 
established. We simply found a set of facts which required 
some new cause and as we had no known process for render- 
ing the facts intelligible we had to represent them as involv- 
ing some causal connection, direct or indirect between living 
minds, that still had to be determined. The facts were evi- 
dence of this, but they were not explained by merely coining 
a new term, as the process or causal agency was not thereby 
indicated. The term was not an explanation, nor a name for 
any explanation, but a name for the facts requiring a new 
cause still to be determined. 

The point of view of which telepathy is supposed to be 
a rival hypothesis is the spiritistic. Both have their evi- 
dential and both their explanatory functions. The evidence 
of the spiritistic theory is, not the mere fact of the supernor- 
mal, or facts not explicable by normal mental action, but in 
addition to the supernormal, it is, incidents bearing upon the 
personal identity of deceased persons. If we are to believe 
in spirits of any kind we must expect them, if they survive, 
to communicate facts which besides being supernormal must 
be such as discarnate spirits would most naturally tell in 
proof of their identity. I shall not undertake to tell what 
such facts should be. I leave this to the reader to determine. 
But the evidence of the theory must partake of the character 
described in order to invoke an explanation which the theory 
supposes. But this evidence must exclude an alternative 
hypothesis, and hence any phenomenon classifiable with tele- 
pathy will not be evidence of spirits whatever we may think 

Telepathy. 317 

of the latter's capacity for explaining the facts. Nothing is 
clearer than the fact that the spiritistic hypothesis is capable 
of explaining a certain type of phenomena, but the funda- 
mental question is, whether it is the true explanation, and 
this requires us to obtain the evidence for it. Whether the 
hypothesis has any evidence in its support is not the problem 
here, and I am not concerned with this issue, but with its 
relation to telepathy either as a fact or as an hypothesis. 
As remarked the evidence of spirit agency must be some 
type of facts illustrating personal identity and at the same 
time probably supernormal. But if such alleged evidence 
can be classified with the phenomena which are termed tele- 
pathic it will lose its character as proof of spirits. Hence, 
tho telepathy explains nothing, it may limit or destroy the 
evidence for spirits, provided it is comprehensive enough 
in its application to all that is explicable by spirit agency. 
It is therefore not a rival theory to the spiritistic in regard 
to explanation, but only in evidential matters. • 

We often speak of " explaining " certain facts by tele- 
pathy and, in implying that they are explicable by the same 
process, this is legitimate enough way of speaking. But 
classification is never a true explanation. It only places 
things in allied groups and if the cause is previously known 
the explanation is implied, but if it is unknown the phe- 
nomena so classified remain really as unexplained as before. 
Telepathy is this sort of term. It only classifies and does 
not yet imply the process by which phenomena are produced 
or made to occur. It is merely a term for placing limitations 
on evidence, not a term of explanation. 

I have been using the word for the moment in its widest 
application to include all three meanings noticed at the out- 
set. I have done this as a concession for the time to the 
popular conception in order to indicate the extent of its 
limitations in relation to a supposedly rival hypothesis. But 
it is time to show still further limitation in the use of the 
term. I deny the legitimacy of the second and third mean- 
ings of the term. That is, I deny that there is any evidence 
of a scientific character for the mind of one person reading 
another in any such way as is implied by selecting incidents 

318 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

either from the memory of the person present or from the 
memories of distant and unknown persons. All that we can 
pretend to have scientific evidence for is the acquisition su- 
pernormally of the present active mental states of the agent by a 
percipient. There is a large mass of facts on record which 
answer to this conception of the matter and there is as yet 
in the scientific world no unanimity of opinion with regard 
even to this. But such as it is, it represents the only body 
of scientific evidence which can claim to represent some su- 
pernormal connection between one mind and another, and 
this connection in all but four or five incidents is synonymous 
with the present mental states of agent and percipient, the 
person whose mind is read and the person who reads it. 
The four or five incidents among the thousands of facts are 
not sufficient to justify the supposition that the memory is 
read either in these particular instances or in the whole mass 
of evidence, especially that they are referable to deferred 
association which, as we know, is a very common phe- 
nomenon in ordinary life. The overwhelming mass of facts 
claiming to be evidence represents present active mental 
states and whatever we may think of subliminal processes as 
possibly involved in the results it is clear that there is no 
such selective access to the mind of the agent by percipients 
as would be implied in the construction of an independent 
personality. The phenomena sustain an analogy with what 
is known in mechanical processes, namely, the fact that the 
cause and effect represent present and non-selective action. 
It is this characteristic that gives the idea of telepathy its 
conceivable import. 

But the analogy or resemblance to mechanical coinci- 
dences, suggesting or proving a causal nexus, receives a part 
of its interest or significance from the circumstance that, in 
mechanical phenomena, we know or suppose something 
about the nature of the process involved in producing the 
effect. Thus, when we strike an object, the noise produced 
is supposed to be the effect of transmitted force from the 
external object to the subject of the effect. In many types 
of phenomena the cause is supposed to be some mode of 
motion, as in the case of sound and light, or the transmission 

Telepathy. 319 

of motion in mechanical operations. It is not the mere fact 
that we have an antecedent and consequent to contemplate 
that satisfies us, but we imagine or believe that some agency 
in the form of motion is involved in the total phenomenon as 
rendering it intelligible and explicable. But in real or 
alleged telepathy we have no such supposition to guide our 
judgments. There is no scientific reason or evidence what- 
ever that thought is connected with vibrations of any kind. 
The prevailing belief in philosophic circles is that mental 
phenomena are not modes of motion and any such assump- 
tion must render mental coincidences such as are involved in 
alleged telepathy quite unintelligible in mechanical terms. 
This belief of philosophy may be wrong for all that I know. 
It may be that consciousness is either constituted by or 
associated with vibrations or undulations of some kind, 
ethereal or material. I do not know, and I am willing also 
to say that I do not care one way or the other. But until 
there is some reason to believe that mental states are asso- 
ciated with undulatory action of some kind in a way to affect 
their nature and relations with each other, both in the mind 
of their subject and between different minds, there will be 
no ground for identifying them closely with mechanical 
phenomena, and alleged telepathic coincidences will not be 
assimilable with physical facts or events. All that they will 
indicate is the fact of some causal relation which has yet to 
be determined. That they are associated with present 
active mental states of a certain person and the percipiency 
of another is the only resemblance with mechanical causes 
that they offer, and that may suffice to prove phenomena not 
due to chance, but it does not make them intelligible to 
physical science, at least in any such terms as are usually 
demanded of coincidences demanding explanation in the 
usual manner. They remain facts to be reckoned with, but 
not physically explicable. 

In the physical world it is the present active cause associ- 
ated with some event directly connected with it in time and 
space that gives rise to our conviction of a causal nexus. 
That is to say, we must have as evidence of a rational causal 
connection the coincidence between a consequent and an 

320 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 

antecedent and that antecedent must be some active agency 
which will commend itself to our minds as the probable or 
necessary fact in the phenomena. It is not the association 
of an event with any passive set of conditions that we find in 
proximity to it, but the presence of an active agency that 
gives force to the assumed connection. Were it not for this 
fact we should probably never think of a cause m a particular 
case of antecedence and consequence. 

Thus a flash of lightning is followed by a clap of thunder. 
If this occurs frequently enough I am assured of the.causal 
nexus. But I would naturally suspect it on the first occasion 
if the association in time and space were close enough, and 
repetition would only confirm the conjecture. But if the 
thunder were to occur two or three days after the flash of 
lightning I would not suspect a causal nexus between them, 
unless I could discover a series of causally related phe- 
nomena between the first and last experience. We have to 
get some continuous connection between a nearer and re- 
moter fact in a series to justify the supposition of a causal 
nexus. Thus when I see and hear the action of a locomotive 
whistle near by there is practical simultaneity or an imme- 
diate connection between the escape of the steam and the oc- 
currence of the sound. I therefore suppose them causally 
related. But would I as easily suppose this connection if I 
saw the steam escape a mile distant and heard the sound 
some moments later? I think not. But if I have learned 
that sound requires time to transmit its vibrations, to a 
distance I might suspect that the difference in time between 
the visual and auditory experience is accounted for by the 
difference in velocity between light and sound, and I could 
then suppose an immediate nexus between them for the point 
of their occurrence and an apparent discrepancy at a dis- 
tance. But I still trace the causal connection through the in- 
tervening phenomena. The evidence, however, must begin 
with spatial and temporal coincidences, and the causal idea 
associated with present active agencies. It is this that 
makes explanation possible in the physical world. 

It is this analogy of temporal coincidence between 
present active thoughts in agent and percipient that sug- 

Telepathy, 321 

gests a causal nexus, especially when the fact is related to 
the absence of such apparent connection between latent 
memories. The phenomena which suggest telepathy, or 
prove it, are coincidences between present mental states, 
and these coincidences must represent likeness of the con- 
tents in mind. Otherwise there will be no reason whatever 
to suppose a causal nexus. This is a truism, but I call at- 
tention to the fact for the purpose of emphasizing a maxim 
of scientific procedure in the matter. This is that similarity 
of content and present active phenomena are essential to the 
idea of a causal relation in cases of alleged telepathy. If we 
attempt to adopt and follow any other criterion we might 
trace a causal connection between any of my thoughts and 
the similar thoughts of others at any time. We never at- 
tempt, however, to suppose that our thoughts today are 
connected either with the same thoughts others experi- 
ence at the same time, under exactly similar conditions, or 
with the thoughts of others like our experience at some 
previous time and explicable by the ordinary processes of 
acquiring knowledge. We have to exclude the ordinary 
access to sense perception and assure ourselves of an identity 
of thought between two subjects, under circumstances to 
suggest a direct and not a parallel or coincidental connection, 
in order to suspect a relation other than the normal one. 

Now the only phenomena which have suggested a causal 
nexus between mental states in different minds are those 
which show identity and temporal coincidence along with 
evidence that the coincidence is not due to similar sensory 
experience. There is no other evidence of telepathy and 
until we have secured evidence of some other connection we 
are not entitled to apply the term telepathy to any other 
conception of the case. We have to define our conceptions 
by the phenomena which serve as evidence for the hypothe- 
sis concerned. If the phenomena do not show that likeness 
of kind which determines their classification we cannot apply 
the same causal explanation. Thus we do not apply gravita- 
tion to the phenomena of adhesion and cohesion. Neither 
do we confuse chemical affinity with any of these. We limit 
each of these causal ideas to the types of phenomena which 

322 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

guarantee their existence. It must be the same with tele- 
pathy. We have no evidence whatever that it occurs be- 
tween the memories of an *' agent '* and the statements of a 
percipient. It is not sufficient to say or suppose that the 
fact told by the psychic is identical in character with the 
fact in the memory of the " agent," or conjectured " agent." 
There must be some reason to believe that memories are 
active causal agencies, and we have no evidence whatever 
of this. We have evidence that active consciousness is a 
causal agent and it is this fact which gives force to the idea 
of telepathy when identity and coincidence between two 
minds occur independently of ordinary sensory experience. 

I may express this perhaps in another way. I have indi- 
cated that telepathy when first applied to mental coinci- 
dences assumed the point of view that the phenomena had 
their interest in the hypothesis that the explanation began 
with the agent and not with the percipient. I have referred to 
the analogies with the law of mechanics, that causal explan- 
ation started with the antecedent phenomenon which 
might be assumed to represent or to indicate the cause. In 
telepathic phenomena the mental state of the agent, if any- 
thing can be supposed to be the cause, might be represented 
as such and the percipient is the passive recipient of what 
is transmitted to him. The point of view for explanation in 
this first conception of causality was the antecedent thought 
of the agent, not any active function of the percipient. 
Telepathy had analogies with the ordinary phenomena of the 
transmission of force or motion. 

But in this wider import of the term it assumes nothing 
of the kind. It supposes that the percipient is the primary 
factor in the work. The point of view for explanation is 
completely reversed. Instead of supposing that the agent is 
the primary factor ; that is, that the mind from which the in- 
formation is presumably obtained is the causal agent, the 
telepathy which explains phenomena having at least a super- 
ficial claim to a spiritistic source assumes that the percipient 
is the causal agent in the result : that is, instead of supposing 
that the mind from which the facts are presumably obtained 
is an influence in the result it assumes that the mind which 

Telepathy, 323 

obtains it selects the facts from the other. Instead of re- 
maining by the conception of mechanical analogies in which 
the agent is the cause and the percipient the passive recipi- 
ent of the knowledge it supposes that the percipient is the 
cause and the other mind the passive giver of the facts. That 
is, it assumes an intelligent, not a mechanical process. The 
relation of agent and percipient is completely reversed. In 
the original and only legitimate application of the term 
telepathy the agent was the active and the percipient the 
passive factor while the new a priori conception is that the 
percipient is the active and the agent the passive power in 
the phenomena. In addition to this general reversion it is 
noticeable that in the former the percipient is not intelli- 
gently selective, while in the latter it is infinitely intelligent 
and selective. The whole mechanical implications of the 
older meaning are lost and abandoned. And they are 
abandoned without evidence of any kind, other than that it 
is not respectable to accept any other view. The fact is 
that there is not a particle of scientific evidence for this 
wider meaning of the term. It is not enough to find one or 
two incidents which seem neither like what has passed for 
the older meaning of telepathy nor appears as evidence of 
transcendental agencies. Such as appear to be neither 
thought transference of present mental states nor evidence 
of discarnate agencies will have to be multiplied in much 
larger quantities and represent much better quality than 
any that we have yet seen before we are entitled to suppose 
a causal relation between the memories of others and the 
supernormal information which mediums give us related to 
the deceased. Before we can admit a selective telepathy of 
any kind we shall have to give evidence which does not coin- 
cide with facts persistently and uniformly related to de- 
ceased persons. We must have the limitation of the facts 
obtained to experiences of living persons and not illustrative 
of the identity of deceased persons. Until that is done there 
can be no scientific evidence whatever for this assumed 
" selective telepathy." I am not questioning the fact of it, 
but denying that there is evidence for it, and no man can 
pretend to be scientific who indulges in the assumption until 

324 Journal of the American. Society for Psychical Research. 

it can produce satisfactory evidence for itself. The circum- 
stance that a supernormal fact may not be evidence of 
spirits does not require us to explain it by telepathy. We 
may better say that we have not found the explanation than 
to assume the necessity of telepathy because the evidence is 
not for spirits. We may well express our agnosticism, es- 
pecially that spirits might explain much which is not evi- 
dence of their existence, if once we have found consistent 
evidence for them. What I remarked earlier in this paper 
holds here, namely, that the explanatory function of a 
theory is wider than its evidential, provided that the phe- 
nomena exhibit any reasonable relation to those which admit 
of a given explanation. 

Briefly, then, this selective telepathy involving intelligent 
action of the percipient as distinct from the passive recipi- 
ence of knowledge after mechanical analogies is an illegiti- 
mate extension of the term in so far as evidence is concerned, 
and science can take no steps without evidence. Of course 
such telepathy may be a fact, but it has no credentials at 
present and must not be permitted to usurp functions which 
never attached to the term as scientifically qualified. It is 
far better to confess ignorance. We may fool for a while 
those who are not intelligent enough to discover our equivo- 
cations, but we shall soon find ourselves in the company of 
those self-complacent people who have mistaken the nature 
and progress of clear thinking. 

All this explains why the scientific mind regards the 
popular conception of felepathy with contempt. If the 
public had limited its conception to the phenomena which 
claimed to be evidence of it and also had not assumed that 
the phenomena were explained by the term, their convictions 
might have received more respect from scientific students. 
But instead of this the general conception of telepathy is, 
not only that it explains certain facts of mental coincidence, 
but that it explains such systematic relations between dif- 
ferent minds as imply subliminal and supernormal conversa- 
tions of great range and complexity. It also assumes too 
readily that some process of motion or undulation is neces- 
sarily associated with the connection between mind an<l 

Telepathy. 325 

mind, or constitutes that connection. There is not one iota 
of scientific evidence for the idea. It may be legitimate 
speculation, but science is not speculation and it is not pri- 
marily explanation. It is first the collection of facts and 
evidence, and it may rest content with this result until it has 
reason to accept an intelligible causal agency after it has 
accumulated sufficient data to relate its phenomena to some 
systematic cause. In the present status of inquiry into the 
relation between different minds, it will not accept the idea 
that telepathy implies any reason to believe in a transcend- 
ental access to the memories of people at any distance by 
any particular person. This is especially true when scien- 
tific minds are called upon to believe that the mind of some 
psychic can select as it pleases the person from whom it shall 
obtain knowledge of the past and select this knowledge with 
reference to the illustration of any particular person living 
or dead. There is no scientific evidence whatever that such 
supernormal intercommunication is possible. It is an inex- 
cusable abuse of the term telepathy to apply it in this man- 
ner. I do not believe that there is such a thing. I do not 
say that I would not believe it if the evidence were produced, 
but I must limit my belief to that for which I have evidence, 
and I deny that there is any scientific evidence for such a 
fact or process as this unlimited reading of minds supposes. 

Telepathy, I repeat, is acquiring present active mental 
states in a supernormal manner, and in thus defining it I do 
not imply that it is a proved fact. I think there is adequate 
evidence for its occasional occurrence. But I respect the 
scepticism which wishes to have more evidence before ac- 
cepting it, and especially do I respect the scepticism which 
denies that telepathy can filch knowledge subliminally and 
systematically from living people at pleasure. The process 
in one case is so different from that assumed in the other 
that there is no rational ground for identifying their relation 
under the same term. Supernormal access to what I am 
now trying to transmit to the mind of another person is one 
thing, and it is a very different thing, requiring a radically 
distinct type of causal action, to systematically read human 
minds all over the world to collect facts illustrative of the 

326 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

personality of a given person, living or dead. It will require 
a great deal of evidence to prove such a thing, and the evi- 
dence will have to be very different from that which we 
have in illustration of something supernormal, if we are to 
make it intelligible on any other hypothesis than the most 
superficial one. 

I must blame psychic researchers, even some who ought 
to know better, for permitting this illegitimate use of the 
term to gain currency. Too many have used it to blind the 
vision to its relation to the various problems we h?tve to 
solve. Let me summarize. 

There has been a tendency to apply its meaning to 
phenomena which are as distant from those which it legiti- 
mately names and classifies as are chance coincidences or 
clairvoyance. The temptation to do this arose out of the 
desire to avoid admitting or tolerating a less respectable 
theory. But it must be emphasized that it is not an explana- 
tory conception of any kind. It merely classifies a certain 
type of phenomena having some unknown cause. It does 
not explain anything whatever, much less that group of 
phenomena which illustrate the imitation or production in 
some supernormal manner of the personality of others, es- 
pecially the deceased. There is no longer excuse for the 
vague use of the term. It is better to admit frankly that we 
have no explanation of certain phenomena than to pretend 
to knowledge by using a term of unlimited meaning, equal to 
any difficulty we meet, in the attempt to escape a cause that 
is perfectly rational and simple. It is time to insist upon the 
only legitimate use of the term, and those who insist upon 
employing it to explain all the mysteries of mental coinci- 
dences and the reproduction supernormally of independent 
personalities, must be held responsible for their action, and 
evidence exacted of them that their assumption has adequate 
credentials. Until this is done no tolerance can be given to 
speculations based upon assumptions. Any and all exten- 
sions of the term's meaning must be accompanied by the 
scientific evidence that justifies it. We are not entitled to 
assume the larger meaning of telepathy to be a fact because 
we are not sure of its limitations. Here is where we have 

Telepathy. 327 

been negligent of the maxims of scientific method and the 
legitimate formation of convictions. We have felt reasons 
for accepting a causal connection between present active 
mental states and then, from the desire to be cautious about 
accepting some other explanation of proved supernormal 
phenomena, and from our ignorance of the limitations of 
communication between mind and mind, we have asked the 
question whether the memory of a subject, regardless of 
spatial and temporal limitations, might be supernormally 
ascertained, and then from the habit of tolerating this as 
possible have jumped to the belief that it is a facty without 
any adequate scientific evidence for it. There would have 
been no temptation to this procedure if it had been as re- 
spectable to believe in something more intelligible. 

The mental condition which makes this tendency feasible 
and acceptable is one that follows the modern sceptical 
method which does not always distinguish between ration- 
ality and the line of least resistance. We have come to 
think that any term which excludes, or supposedly excludes, 
the supernormal and the " supernatural " is a clear explan- 
ation of phenomena. The fact is, however, that they often 
explain nothing and are but terms for our ignorance. But 
the modern propensity for the " natural,'' (which does not 
mean what it once did) makes us think that any term that is 
associated with the " natural," tho quite mystifying in its 
connotation, is a perfectly satisfactory explanation of facts. 
When we want to escape some perfectly clear explanation 
we have only to appeal to vibrations, telepathy, clairvoyance, 
etc., to assure ourselves a place among the wise ! 

Denn eben wo Begriffe fehlen 

Da stellt ein Wort zur rechten Zeit sich ein. 

This habit was once the property of theology, but it seems 
now to have afflicted the spirit of science at times. But 
whatever it is, psychic researchers should be the first to cor- 
rect and disillusion the popular judgment in the matter. We 
gain nothing by the mere use of words whose meaning is not 
clear and which only conceal our ignorance in the guise of a 
pretended explanation. 

328 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 


The July and August numbers of the Journal will contain 
much less matter than usual. It will probably be the policy 
to regularly publish less material during these two months. 
The English Society does not issue any numbers during July 
and August, but we desire to continue as much of our work 
during this period as the circumstances will permit. 

Circulars have been sent to all the members of the So- 
ciety regarding a needed endowment to assure a permanent 
home for its work. It is not expected that all the members 
will be able to contribute to that fund. But a number of 
them may be able and willing to do so and it is hoped that 
all may try to interest their friends both in membership and 
in the endowment of the work. 

I wish to keep before the minds of members that it will 
require i,ooo members paying an average of $io each merely 
to meet the expenses of the work as it is being done now. 
Most other enterprises can receive help from the publication 
of advertisements. This is practically impossible in scientific 
work of this kind. Hence the whole expense of investiga- 
tion and publication must fall on contributions of members 
until an endowment has been obtained. But for the initial 
fund which was explained in an earlier number of the 
Journal the work could not even have been begun. I have 
given quarterly statements of expenses that readers may 
form some conception of what the cost of the work is. The 
publications alone will probably cost $4,000 a year. Salaries 
at present are $2,600 a year, my own services being free. It 
is extremely desirable that we should have members enough 
to meet these demands and the additional expense of investi- 
gation which has already cost nearly $1,000. 

It is hoped that the initial fund which was secured to 
assure the organization of the Society may not be used, but 
at it can be converted into a permanent endowment. The 
on for this is the simple one that it is extremely im- 
nt that the work should not be dissolved by the acci- 

Editorial. 329 

dents of death as occurred with the loss of Dr. Richard 
Hodgson. This is one of the reasons for the present appeal 
for a sum large enough to guarantee a permanent office for 
the work. The accumulation of material which came to us 
from the American Branch is such that it must be properly 
cared for. There is matter in it suitable for use in our pub- 
lications, but it is not now accessible because it has to be 
stored. A permanent home would be assured by a fund 
whose income would pay the office rent, and at the same 
time would save trespassing upon the fees of members for 
that large expense. 

Members can help in obtaining this fund in two ways. 
First they may interest those of their friends who are able to 
assist in the way desired. Secondly, they may help to in- 
crease membership beyond the numbers necessary to pay 
running expenses, and the surplus can be invested as a per- 
manent fund. There is no reason why we should not have 
five or ten thousand members in this country alone. A 
serious appreciation of the importance of this work in an 
intelligent understanding of the meaning of things to the 
race ought to lead to a large membership and a ready en- 
dowment of it. 

A circular will soon be issued and sent to members for 
the purpose of collecting data in regard to various experi- 
ences and phenomena of interest to this research. It would 
be desirable that members send us names and addresses of 
people who have had experiences or know of phenomena 
that it may be important to place on record. It should be 
remembered that all reports made to us will be treated with 
due confidence and no use made of them which is not permit- 
ted by those who report them. There is a very important 
distinction between record and publication. A Society which 
has a permanent organization and archives can file for record 
phenomena which it does not use publicly at all, and this 
record can be used by subsequent generations without injury 
to those who find it imperative at the time of their reporting 
to preserve privacy. It is a part of the Society's plan to en- 

330 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

courage the making of such records which may prove helpful 
to a scientific understanding of our problems without divulg- 
ing the identity of those who so record their experiences. It 
will serve the interests of science quite as well to be able to 
publish illustrations of important phenomena and to have a 
large collection of similar incidents which cannot be made 
public at the time. Future students may have access to 
evidence that would otherwise perish. 

Suggestions to Members. 

It is important to remind readers and members of the 
Society that a scientific investigation of the phenomena 
which are classified in its circular can be made only by the 
hearty cooperation of all that may be interested in it. Very 
little can be done by the officers of the Society unless those 
who know of facts take the time and pains to write them out 
and report them at headquarters. The primary object of 
membership, after the financial problem has been solved, is 
that of a scientific interest in collecting and reporting facts, 
for investigation and record. It is hoped, therefore, that 
each member will feel some responsibility for reporting per- 
sonal experiences of all kinds relevant to the objects of the 
Society and such others as occur within their knowledge and 
may be the subject of careful inquiry. In no other way can 
we accomplish our scientific object. Interesting psychic 
phenomena are not the possession or experience of every 
one, neither can they be produced at pleasure, as can many 
phenomena by the experimentalist in normal psychology. 
Psychic phenomena are scattered and sporadic and their 
scientific use will depend quite as much upon the services 
of those who can report them as upon the work of the in- 
vestigator. It is hoped, therefore, that members will be 
seriously interested in the collection of facts and the enlarge- 
^nt of a membership that may equally increase the facts to 
examined and recorded. 

Another important fact to remark is that reporters of ex- 
ences will have to be patient with much real or apparent 

Editorial. 331 

scepticism regarding their records. They will have to be 
examined and discussed as if they were not believed, tho we 
may actually accept them without question. Science is 
critical if it is anything, and many experiences will be re- 
ported that will have great importance evidentially if they 
can pass the ordeal of a thorough scientific examination. 
This always has to be done for the sake of ascertaining the 
accuracy of the narrator's judgment and memory, especially 
in regard to the details that the scientific man will treat as 
important. No reflections will be implied in questions de- 
signed to bring out the facts and to protect them against 
sceptical corrosion. We hope, therefore, that each reporter 
will find our inquiries quite sympathetic even tho super- 
ficially suggestive of distrust. We are engaged in the task 
of convincing others, not ourselves. It must be remembered 
that every one of us is more cautious about accepting the 
statements of entire strangers than we are those of intimate 
friends whom we trust. This is not at all because strangers 
are necessarily any more untrustworthy than our friends, but 
because we have not the knowledge in one case as in the 
other of the character which determines credibility. When 
this is the case we have to subject reports to the same exam- 
ination to which a court subjects its evidence in a civil pro- 
ceeding. It is a question of sifting the statements until they 
are free from the suspicions of mal-observation and defective 
memory. The time will come when experiences will be re- 
corded at the time of their occurrence and then the investi- 
gation will be less annoying to the subject of them. We 
have to convert people who do not have personal experiences 
and that can be done only by such methods as have con- 
vinced the world of the existence of meteors, of traveling 
balls of electricity, of evolution, of Roentgen rays, of wireless 
telegraphy. The facts have to be established in such a 
manner that the simplest objections to their occurrence or 
reported character cannot be made. Owing to their spo- 
radic nature it will take time to collect them in quantities 
sufficient to impress scientific sceptics. 

I have said that the phenomena are sporadic and occa- 
sional. This fact makes the inquiry into psychic experiences 

332 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 

unusually difficult and prolonged. We cannot verify the 
allegations of favored individuals as can the experimenter in 
the laboratory with normal subjects. The phenomena with 
which psychic research deals are as rare as are meteors and 
comets. They are not always observable by those who may 
wish to investigate them. Comets may have a thousand 
telescopes turned on them, but psychic phenomena are not 
verifiable in similar ways. We shall have to collect them 
for a long period of time in order to assure ourselves of data 
that necessitate so large a set of theories as prevail in the 
public mind. Each individual experience may be counted 
as one in the total collection. The single case may not prove 
much, if it even proves anything, but it may have an ines- 
timable value in the collective mass. We hope that each 
person may appreciate this aspect of the problem and be 
patient with it and serve a useful part in the work of collect- 
ing the facts. 

A circumstance also hardly less important than those 
which have already been mentioned is this. We hope that 
reporters will not mistake the value of their experiences. It 
is natural for us to estimate their importance by their rela- 
tion to the conclusion which we may be interested in sup- 
porting. But experiences may have a significance quite 
diflFerent from that which we are seeking and yet not lose in 
their value. It is hoped, therefore, that narrators will re- 
port their facts regardless of what they may think of them, 
that is, whether they think them good or bad. An incident 
may not prove what we wish it to prove; it may not seem 
proportioned in dignity to the hypothesis by which we ex- 
plain it, and it may seem disgustingly trivial. But the scien- 
tific man will not be frightened at these aspects of them. In 
some respects the more trivial the better as this character- 
istic may add to their evidential importance. But the main 
circumstance to be noted in this caution against misconceiv- 
ing the value of experiences is the fact that they may often 
throw light upon the problem at a point which the narrator 
does not suspect, and if they do this they will be much more 
valuable than if the experience were told to prove another 
matter. A fact does not necessarily have one explanation. 

Editorial, 333 

It may have several, and these several explanations may be 
connected together and not mutually exclusive. There are 
many intermediate problems in the larger issues of psychic 
research and facts which do not help to solve one may help 
to solve another. We therefore hope members will report 
experiences without asking a question as to their value before 
reporting them. When large numbers of different experi- 
ences are put together they will constitute not only a col- 
lective, but also an articulated whole. Each individual inci- 
dent may be an imperfect one and hence with common points 
of contact with others they may find a classification and ulti- 
mate explanation not at all suggested at the time of their 

Let me illustrate what I mean. I take several imaginary 
cases. Suppose I dream that my aunt has died and I find 
afterward that she actually died about the time of my dream. 
The circumstances might make such a dream of little or no 
importance evidentially in any special explanation of it. But 
suppose again that the dream had been that an uncle had 
died when the fact was that he was long dead and it was the 
aunt that died coincidentally with the dream. This instance 
would appear to have no importance at all in a scheme of ex- 
planation. Again suppose the dream was that my deceased 
uncle appeared and I recognized him as a deceased uncle 
while again it was the aunt that died coincidentally with my 
dream. Here we have an instance that begins to have sug- 
gestiveness, but may still be imperfect in character. Sup- 
pose further that my dream is of the appearance of a de- 
ceased uncle to tell me that my aunt has died, and I after- 
ward find that this particular aunt died coincidentally with 
my dream. The instance in this case obtains a more signifi- 
cant complexity and suggests an intelligible explanation. 
Suppose now further that I go unknown to a trustworthy 
psychic and receive a message purporting to come from this 
aunt that her brother, my uncle, had reported her going to 
me in a dream, we will readily see the possible interpretation 
of the simplest incident even tho it was not in any respect 
evidence of such an interpretation. 

Now the illustration may be made a little more compli- 


334 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

cated and serve the same purpose. Suppose A has the first 
of the mentioned dreams about his aunt, B the second about 
his uncle, C the third about his uncle and D the fourth about 
his uncle and aunt, all of them coinciding with the death of a 
special aunt, and E has the mediumistic experience with such 
details as mentioned. Now tho the dream of A may have 
neither evidential importance sufficient to prove anything of 
itself it will probably appear clear that all of the experiences 
have the same explanation and we can ascertain this only by 
the patient collection of separate incidents which can some 
day be articulated into an organic whole. 

For the help and guidance of those who will take the pains 
to record their experiences it may be well to lay down certain 
rules which it is desirable to have in mind. If conformed to 
they will give greater value to the facts reported. They 
will apply to such phenomena as Apparitions, Clairvoyance, 
Premonitions, Coincidental Dreams, Telepathic Coincidences 
and all facts having a coincidental nature. Some of the rules 
will be general and some specific. 

1. It is desirable that all experiences be written out and 
reported as soon as possible after their occurrence. 

2. It is very desirable that the dates, and if possible the 
hour, of their occurrence should be recorded, especially in 
such phenomena as apparitions, dreams and telepathic coin- 
cidences, or cases of spontaneous clairvoyance and premoni- 

3. If the experience represents information not known 
by the percipient at the time, it is especially desirable that it 
be written out before it has been verified by letter, telegram, 
or other source of information. 

4. If possible, it is desirable to have the written account 
mailed to officers of the Society or to some other trusted per- 
son prior to the verification of the experience. 

5. When possible, it is also wise to tell the experience 
and its incidents to some friend or relative who may confirm 
it before its verification. 

6. It is desirable to have the account as detailed as possi- 

Editorial, 335 

ble regardless of the points that may most interest the nar- 

7. It is important and desirable, if possible, to have con- 
temporary documents, such as letters, diaries, telegrams, or 
other notes of an experience in case the written account is 
not made at the time. 

8. It is better, if possible, to avoid the introduction of 
all theoretical explanations into the account. Incidents ex- 
plaining the meaning of the facts are important, but the 
interpretation of the phenomena is not necessary to the ac- 
count. This means that it is desirable to have the bare facts 
described without regard to any explanaition of their mean- 
ing, whether favorable or unfavorable to the opinions of the 

9. It is desirable also to record all the usual or unusual 
accompaniments of the experience, such as one's sensations 
and feelings, including any marked peculiarities of visual, 
auditory and tactual sensations. 

10. In cases of experiment it is desirable to observe and 
record carefully all the conditions affecting their integrity. 
If it be with a medium-, it is important to make a note of all 
questions and statements of the sitter as well as those of the 
medium. In cases of automatic writing, the sheets should 
be numbered and religiously preserved, and in copying the 
contents, all questions and statements of the sitter or persons 
present should be inserted in their chronological and psy- 
chological place. Record and preserve all errors and con- 
fusions quite as carefully as the clear and correct incidents. 

There may be minor considerations to be regarded, but 
those which have been mentioned are the most important, 
and facts reported in conformity with them will prove much 
more impressive to the scientific man than such as are ex- 
posed to the objections of mal-observation and defective 

The correspondence which we publish in another column 
suggests, as readers will observe, attention to investigations 
into the nature of a transcendental world and the ethical re- 
lation of the present to it, and we wish to invite general con- 
sideration of it for the sake of a clearer understanding of the 

336 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

problems involved in the work of psychic research. We de- 
sire here to express editorially what we conceive these prob- 
lems to be and so to explain the limitations under which the 
work has to be done at present. 

After so many years of inquiry regarding the super- 
normal it is natural enough that many persons, especially 
those who have been convinced of survival after death, should 
ask for information regarding that life and to feel some 
weariness with the continued application of our inquiries to 
the elementary problem of psychic research. But while we 
appreciate this position of our correspondents quite fully, it 
is important — and their letters present the opportunity — to 
explain the object of the Society in so far as it claims to be 
' a scientific body. 

We have mentioned in later comments the main difficul- 
ties which hamper at present the parrying out of the in- 
quiries suggested, and there might be much more funda- 
mental objections to stress, at present, on the study of con- 
ditions regarding which communications are unverifiable. 
But we shall not dispute the interest or importance of that 
point of view, altho thinking that it may mistake the whole 
issue of the nature and importance of proving a future life. 
What is to us more important scientifically is the nature of 
the work which the American Society has undertaken to do. 

The task which we have undertaken as a scientific body 
is not at all the personal satisfaction of investigation and 
conclusions about a future life alone, but the collection of 
human experiences bearing on all sorts of obscure psycho- 
logical phenomena. No doubt it is impossible to escape the 
interest which a future life has for all our members, but the 
past investigations into this subject have encountered a vast 
number of experiences which have no relation to the evi- 
dential issues of such a question and which avail to throw 
light upon the mental conditions and processes involved in 
the whole mass of phenomena. These suggest very decided 
limitations in the prosecution of our inquiries and so in 
deciding the opinions which we shall hold about any aspect 
of our problem. Consequently, after we have satisfied all 
ordinary scepticism about a future life we have to patiently 

Editorial. 337 

investigate the conditions on which we may prosecute in- 
quiry into the nature of a transcendental world and to un- 
derstand the reservations with which any conclusion what- 
ever regarding such a matter has to be held. It is a loni; 
and difficult process to do this. There is no guarantee, after 
having proved the identity of a given person, that his state- 
ments regarding such a life can be accepted. As our prob- 
lem is a scientific one we cannot accept credulously any 
statement whatever which may come from a spiritual world, 
not because we have to doubt the veracity of the com- 
municator, but because the primary scientific problem is veri- 
fication. It matters not how plausible a statement may be 
about the " other side," science has to give such credentials 
for it as will make it rational on other grounds than the 
assumed or proved veracity of the communicator. To do 
this the comparison of many cases of mediums is absolutelv 
necessary, especially when we have to eliminate the personal 
equation of the psychic as affected by the subconscious ac- 
tion of his or her mind. 

A most important consideration also in this connection, 
and affecting the limitations under which communications 
about such a world have to be made, is the question of the 
conditions affecting the triviality and confusion of the mes- 
sages. The great objection to the acceptance of the messages 
as spiritistic is this triviality and error. I do not consider 
it as a legitimate objection, but the universality of it and the 
fact that our problem has always to be gauged by the con- 
ception of it which the public holds are adequate reasons for 
removing this objection first, and if the hypothesis of ab- 
normal mental conditions of some kind in the communica- 
tors while communicating be possible, we have first to in- 
vestigate its truth and then to consider how it affects the 
veracity and credibility of statements about that other life. 
We all know how little reliance can be placed on the dreams 
of somnambulistic people or the statements of secondary 
personalities regarding the life we now live, and much less 
can we accept unverified the statements of somnambulistic 
statements or the views of secondary personalities in the 
transcendental world. They may many of them be true, 

338 Journal of the Atnerican Society for Psychical Research. 

but our task is to verify them, and this is a much more diffi- 
cult and prolonged labor than proving personal identity. 

There is no agreement on many points in spiritistic lit- 
erature about the next life, and we have to pursue our in- 
quiries with this in view and it will not be easy to ascertain 
what we can believe regarding it. It will not be enough to 
discover a consistent system in one set of experiments. That 
would be perfectly natural on the assumption that subcon- 
scious mental action affected communications. We have to 
ascertain the extent of that influence and eliminate it from 
the account. Besides we have to eliminate as well the in- 
fluence of abnormal mental conditions on the " other side," 
especially if they happened to be affected by the memories 
of the communicators. I know one case in which the com- 
municator, who had sufficiently proved his identity, made 
certain statements about his transcendental life and discov- 
ered in a moment that they were influenced by his memories 
of the earthly life and remarked the fact, going on with state- 
ments calculated to correct the previous ones, but without 
adding anything to illuminate any curiosity we might enter- 
tain about his condition. The same communicator had told 
me at another time that he could not make this life clear to 

It will be impossible to conduct inquiries on this com- 
plicated problem, commensurate with its magnitude, until 
we are financially situated to pursue them rightly. It will 
take many years working on a number of cases like that of 
Mrs. Piper to make even an impressive showmg on it. We 
can only content ourselves with casual communications in- 
cident to the prosecution of the more fundamental problems. 
When the nature and magnitude of the work have been suf- 
ficiently appreciated by the public to endow it, we shall be 
in a position to make attempts at satisfying the desires of 
those who have curiosity on this point. 

Another important consideration in the conception of 
our work is that, as a scientific body, we are not primarily or 
only investigators for our own personal edification. Our 
task is not merely to convince ourselves of the supernornial 
— in fact it may be to disprove it and so to explain away the 

Editorial. 339 

popular beliefs in the matter — but to convince the sceptic 
of the existence of the supernormal, if true, and to explain 
aJl the perplexities involved in it. We are not merely prov- 
ing to ourselves these claims, but we have the large task of 
proving them to others who have not been witnesses of the 
phenomena. In this we have to make all sorts of concesr 
sions to points of view which may not be our own, and espe- 
cially to objections which the sceptic may entertain regard- 
ing any part of the subject. The conversion of others to an 
interest in our problem is a wholly different task from that 
of satisfying ourselves. We have to work with methods and 
criteria not necessarily our own when we are satisfying the 
demands of the sceptic. He must not be allowed to evade 
the issues in any respect, and if we enable him to criticize us 
on issues that are not the primary ones he will weaken our 
cause. The world does not accept the supernormal in any 
way — ^making us free to do any dogmatic work. This is 
especially true of the scientific world which we are trying to 
interest and convert. As a scientific body, pretending to 
employ strict scientific methods, we have to present such a 
mass of evidence as will satisfy the fundamental criterion of 
truth, which is sufficient, frequently, in that the occurrence 
of alleged phenomena make them credble as a systematic 
feature of the cosmic order. This condition of our problem 
is much more than one of investigation alone. It is the ad- 
justment of our material to the difficulties and mental con- 
ditions of critics, who may be very glad to use every oppor- 
tunity to discredit results, when it may be easy to com- 
pletely silence their objections by matter which is not amen- 
able to their ridicule. That is to say, our task as investi- 
gators must not be confused, nor does it coincide, with that 
of convincing doubters of the validity of our claims. This 
latter part of our task is perhaps much the larger one and 
will require more patience and sacrifice than the former. 

340 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 


I have received several letters suggesting the publication 
of material bearing on the conditions of the life after death, 
and as the sentiments expressed in them are probably very 
common among the members, I have thought it seasonable 
to invite discussion of the matter with an expression of what 
seems forced upon us for the present as students of this very 
perplexing problem. I make selections from two of these 
letters, which are representative of a class, and they will suf- 
fice to make the issue clear. I trust that the opportunity 
for intelligent and scientific discussion of the question may 
thus be opened to members. 

Cleveland, Ohio, April 29th, 1907. 
Dr. James H. Hyslop: 

Dear Sir: — Will you Kindly permit me, as one who is much 
interested in the work of your Society, to express to you certain 
criticisms and suggestions which have arisen in my mind re- 
garding the method of your work. 

One of the chief difficulties felt by many in the way of ac- 
cepting the view that such communications as those through 
Mrs. Piper really came from the spirits of the departed, is, that 
the alleged communications seem so trivial in character. Your 
answer is that it is precisely such trivial personal recollections 
of this life, capable of verification here, that are needed to give 
real proof of personal identity, and that all statements regarding 
conditions in a life beyond this, must be cast aside until the 
main question of the reality of communication from such a life 
is settled, since such statements cannot be verified by us, and 
hence have no evidential value. 

Would it not be extremely desirable that a definite effort 
should be made incidentally at least to your other inquiries to 
gather together and make public such data as have already been 
secured, or might be secured by questions to communicators 
hereafter accessible, as to what we must consider the nature of 
the future life, in case the communications shall prove genuine. 
If by such an effort, a series of statements are secured touching 
matters of real value, in connection with the future life, this 
would be the most effective answer to the objections of those 
who say all is trivial. Nor am I willing to admit that such re- 
sults would lack evidential value. If the method of investiga- 
tion which you and your co-workers have developed, is sho>vn 
to secure for us a consistent and steadily growing body of 

Correspondence. 341 

teaching on the questions which are of real moment to man- 
kind, the presumption in favor of its reliability will be strength- 
ened, just as men trust the deliverance of their senses and their 
own mental processes while unable to offer any logical proof of 
their validity. It seems to me that if the work of investigations 
is too constantly limited to the verification of petty details of this 
life, the whole subject may in the end seem so formal and bar- 
ren to the public that its real significance will be lost sight of. 
In the last analysis the purpose of the whole investigation — ^the 
purpose which gives to the work its supreme importance — ^is to 
learn, not merely the fact of a future life, but such truths re- 
garding its nature as to answer the question, what we should do 
here to prepare the way for the greatest welfare and effective- 
ness there, and what we may hope for as we look forward to 
continuation of existence there. Even if we must still condition 
all statements on such subjects by the proviso — if there is a 
life beyond, and if the alleged communications are genuine — 
still even a tentative and hypothetical answer on subjects of 
such vast importance would be, it seems to me, a thing ex- 
tremely desirable to have, and might prove of no small service 
in helping us to a juster estimate of the value of these investi- 
gations, and the best methods of further pursuing them. 

Such questions as the following are suggested as meriting 
investigation : 

(i) What is the general character of the future life? 
I2) What is the extent and nature of the communications 
between spirits in that life? 

(3) Are any other spirits than those of the departed from 
this life known there? 

(4) Is there any greater knowledge possessed there re- 
garding the leading teachings of religion such as that concern- 
ing the existence of a God, etc. ? 

(5) What is the nature of the experiences immediately fol- 
lowing death? 

(6) What are the chief differences of condition brought 
about by death? 

(7) What is the nature of the gradual developments (if 
any) experienced by the spirit after death? 

(8) In what way should one's life here be ordered so that it 
may lead to the greatest possible welfare and effectiveness 

(9) What differences are there in the life beyond between 
spirits of different men due to the different ways in which they 
have lived when on earth? 

Very truly, 

342 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

Jersey City, April 17th, 1907. 
My dear Sir: — 

If I am not presuming too much I would like to suggest two 
methods which would tend to increase the enthusiasm mani- 
fested in the Society's undertakings. 

One of these, is the publication of extracts from the mass of 
material which you have told me you have on hand, purporting 
to give information on post-mortem conditions. I appreciate 
the argument that the first step is to lay the foundation for 
admitting this evidence, but people think they have waited long 
enough for something of value per se; and there should be no 
hesitancy in submitting the matter in hand to the verdict of 
public opinion, by which religious values in general have to be 

If there is anything in it superior to the " Seven Spheres " 
and " Seven Cycles " type of supermundane communications, it 
may be trusted to vindicate itself. 

Very truly, 

It is hoped that members will avail themselves of this 
opportunity to discuss the position taken by these two corre- 
spondents. For the present I shall only reply to one remark 
in the last letter and defer to the editorial columns the dis- 
cussion of the main points considered. As to the material 
on hand for discussing in a detailed manner th^ conditions 
of a future life I can only say that this is contained in the 
record which Dr. Hodgson made during his eighteen years 
investigation of Mrs. Piper. That record is not yet acces- 
sible to me and when it does become accessible, as it may, I 
shall be under limitations in regard to its use. Whatever 
may be done to supply the desires of the correspondents will 
have to come from future investigations in other cases, and 
very little of this can be done until an endowment has been 
obtained that will meet the expenses of such work. It will 
probably require several years constant work on each case 
merely to determine the extent to which experiments of the 
kind desired can be trustworthy for any purpose. Very 
few people have any conception of the nature and complica- 
tions of our problem. I shall discuss this elsewhere. In 
brief, however, it requires long and difficult experimentation 
first to determine the extent to which subconscious mental 

Correspondence, . 343 

action and ideas of the medium affect the contents of real or 
alleged communications, and that has to be determined be- 
fore any inquiries are worth while in the direction sug^ 
gested. I do not question the desirability of pursuing such 
inquiries, but they do not seem to me nearly so important at 
present as the correspondents assume, tho I concede rights 
of opinion to other points of view than my own. 

But apart from this, which is not the available defence of 
the policy which we have to pursue at present, there is the 
more fundamental fact that we have no means whatever to 
conduct such investigations. We are able at present only 
to carry on the most desultory experiments and are not 
even able adequately to test cases for any such inquiries as 
are desired. Matter bearing on the questions concerned can 
only be casually obtained until we are in a position to ex- 
periment systematically. — Editor. 


Haverhill, Mass., May 7, 1907. 

The Editor, Journal of the American Society for Psychical Re- 

I should like to reply to Mr. Hereward Carrington's criticism 
of my hypothesis, appearing with my article in the May number 
of the Journal, 

In his criticism he apparently gives my hypothesis the 
" reductio ad absurdam." 
' That this is only apparent and not real I hope to show. 

To his first objection, wherein Mr. Carrington makes the 
statement that certain electrical conditions or an etheric medium, 
altered or withdrawing from the body at the time of death may 
account for the loss of weight : my answer is that a loss of weight 
implies a loss of matter — ^gravitative matter — and that no amount 
of electrical alteration of any body has ever been known to alter 
its weight in the least, for the very good reason that electricity 
in its relation to matter as we know it is a condition and not an 
entity, and this I judge will hold true of matter and electricity, 
whether the theory of the electrical origin of matter turns out to 
be true or not. 

Anything disappearing in a way to affect the beam of a scale 
as in my experiment, far better comeS under the head of gravi- 
tative matter than " eiheric medium.'* 

344 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

The ether is gfravitationless or of such density as to be beyond 
human measurement, any modincation of it that would affect 
the beam of a scale would be matter itself. 

Mr. Carrington ends this part of his criticism with the state- 
ment that " such a withdrawal (meaning etheric medium) would 
account for the facts without resorting to the supposition that 
consciousness was in any way that which caused the loss of 
weight indicated by the balance." 

Now I never have supposed that consciousness had weight 
or was itself space occupying. I regard consciousness as a 
function of the personality either here or hereafter, and the con- 
tinuing personality as necessarily a space occupying substance 
or organism. 

Mr. Carrington presents cases that he has observed, supposed 
to prove weight loss unaccounted for by known channels of loss 
in persons still continuing to live, one case losing five pounds, 
which he asserts could not be accounted for by present day 
physiology. And then he naively asks, " Would such a test 
indicate that soul substance had been lost." And as naively 
adds, " Evidently not, since the man continued to live." 

This truly is the " reductio ad absurdam" of my hypothesis. 

I pass over those cases noted by him of patients so ill that 
they had been given up to die by their physicians and who were 
afterwards cured by the Fasting Cure, stated by him to consist 
in a process of abstaining from all solid and liquid nourishment for 
thirty, forty, fifty days and longer, for he admits that the weight 
loss in these cases is accounted for by physiological processes 
we already know. 

I will merely remark that as a practicing physician such 
results procured by starvation in cases about to die appear to 
me to be impossible. 

In those cases of gain in weight during fasting, and on slight 
diet, Mr. Carrington first thinks that they present a physiological 
paradox, for the reason that we are supposed to gain our flesh 
and weight solely from the food we eat. He goes on to say 
" And if more weight is gained than food eaten, how are we to 
account for the facts? In such cases, are we to attribute the gain 
in weight to added soul substance ? " 

Further along he shows unconsciously the needlessness of 
citing these cases against my theory, for under the guise of a 
hypothetical explanation he rediscovers the well known physio- 
logical truth that we gain our weight also from the water we 
drink, and admits that the people in the cases he cites had all 
the water they wanted to drink, and so accounts for the seeming 
oaradox in a way satisfactory alike to science and common sense, 

^ar as these cases go my theory is untouched. 

Correspondence. 345 

And now we come to the " Experimenta Crucis," the case of 
a man sealed up for a period of one hour in a metallic burial 
casket, losing five pounds in weight during the undertaking, a 
loss that Mr. Carrington supposes cannot be accounted for by 
anything we know of physiology. 

He goes on to say, ** Here then we have a loss of weight that 
if recorded correctly cannot be explained by any of the known 
laws of physiology, since the person undergoing the test took 
no bodily exertion and the loss cannot be due to any of the 
known channels of loss. Would such a test indicate that soul 
substance had been lost? Evidently not since the man con- 
tinued to live." And I would add evidently not even if the man 
had died. 

Again he says, " Until such cases are in some measure ac- 
counted for, it is at least premature to assert or even propose 
that an observed loss of weight at the moment of death, is due 
to any soul substance or that it has any necessary connection 
with soul or consciousness at all." 

Now this last case would be the " reductio ad absurdam," 
with a vengeance, of my hypothesis, if it were correctly recorded, 
and if it were true that the five pounds loss of weight could not 
bt accounted for by a known physiological process. 

I would call attention to the fact that this is the only case 
cited that has anything to do with the subject of discussion — a 
loss of weight not accounted for by known channels of loss — all 
the other cases cited satisfying even Mr. Carrington that they 
could be accounted for by physiological knowledge already in 
our possession. 

Is this case really beyond explanation by known physiological 
processes? I scarcely think so. I think I can in some measure 
account for it, and thereby excuse my temerity in proposing my 

What would happen to a man sealed in a metallic casket for 
one hour? 

Unless he were in a state of catalepsy, in which metabolism 
is at the lowest ebb compatible with life — and this man could 
not have been cataleptic, because he was to smile through the 
glass head plate at the witnesses of the test — he would sweat in 
a way that he never sweat in his life before, and sweating, he 
would lose weight. 

Now because of this sweating, before it can be said that in 
his case there was a loss of weight not accounted for by known 
channels of loss, some questions would require consideration and 

For instance. Was he weighed immediately before and after 
in the clothing he wore during the hour of incarceration, or did 

346 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

he discard the clothing worn in the casket for another suit 
before weighing in? 

If the latter, were the clothes worn in the casket weighed 
separately, immediately before and after to determine the differ- 
ence due to sweat moisture? 

If not so immediately weighed after the hour, how long a 
time elapsed before they were so weighed and what was the 
temperature of the room in which they were exposed, this, in 
order to take account of the evaporation of moisture? 

Was there any soft substance as cloth or blanket lining the 
casket to ease his bones as he laid there? 

If so, was that weighed before and after to determine amount 
of sweat moisture absorbed by it? 

If no such lining was in the casket was the moisture neces- 
sarily deposited on the inner surface of the casket collected and 
weighed ? 

Unless the weight loss was determined by weighing casket, 
man and all, when the test began, and before he was released — 
and that is not recorded — all the foregoing questions would 
require answer before we would even be justified in assuming 
that the weight loss in his case could not be accounted for by 
the commonly known physiological process of sweating. 

Moreover, this case was reported by Rear-Admiral George 
W. Melville in his discussion on the submarine boat for the 
bearing it had on the question of how small a quantity of air a 
man could live on for a certain period of time. There is nothing 
to show that the experiment was primarily undertaken to prove 
any matter of weight loss accompanied by all precautions against 
error. Incidentally a loss of tive pounds was noted, and the 
amount is so great that I have no doubt, if the subject of and the 
witnesses to the experiment were interviewed, they would fur- 
nish testimony, confirming my explanation of how the weight 
was probably lost. 



I have read with interest Dr. MacDougall's counter to my 
criticism, the primary object of which was to elicit such a 
reply. I wish only to state that, so far from looking upon 
Dr. MacDougall's reply with hostility, I should be only too 
glad to see him prove his point — as against my theory — ^and 
hope that future experiments may indeed vindicate his posi- 
tion. My reply was merely to call attention to certain objec- 

Book Review. 347 

tions to the theory thafwould have to be faced, and the fact 
that Dr. MacDougall has been enabled to prove my criticism 
harmless strengthens his own position, — which no one is 
more delighted to see than myself. 



The Psychology of Religious Belief. By James Bissett Pratt, Ph. D., As- 
sistant Professor of Philosophy in Williams College. New York, The 
Macmillan Company, 1907. 

This little book has some unique features which are mainly confined to 
the last part of it. There are three divisions in it, Definition, History and 
Description, The first endeavors to define feeling, belief, and religious feeling. 
The second gives the historical aspects of several religions ; and the last repre- 
sents the present status of religion generally. In this fermenting stage of 
thought the book ought to prove a very helpful one, tho we imagine that men 
will hardly escape the consequences of present scepticism on these matters any 
more than did the Greeks at the time of and after the Sophists, and for the 
same reason. 

The first chapter analyzes the "psychic life" into its elements, with a 
marked tendency to recognize as most important certain subliminal elements, 
which it is the fashion to-day to admit and emphasize — ^tho it took a genera- 
tion to remove scepticism as to their existence. We are not sure but that we 
have some sympathy with the sceptics. For instance, the author quotes Pro- 
fessor James' statement about the infant's consciousness as a " buzzing bloom- 
ing confusion," when we might safely ask any one what he knows about an 
infant's consciousness? It seems to us that the nature of an infant's con- 
sciousness is about as determinable as the other side of the moon. It is cer- 
tainly a matter of pure conjecture and theory. It does not seem to us that 
any reli^rious consciousness is going to be illuminated by going back either to 
the infant or to the subliminal, both being indeterminate facts. The subliminal 
is still a subject of investigation and, to us, seems only a big hole into which 
to throw mysteries, with the implication that they are explained, when the 
fact is that it means only that they are not explained or intelligible in terms 
of the only facts that are clear to us. But we do not, on this account, dispute 
the value of admitting a consideration of the early mental life and subcon- 
scious phenomena into religion, tho we do not think they have any more im- 
portance there than anywhere else. We do consider, however, that this im- 
portance is inferior to that of the conscious elements, and it only invokes 
mystery to lay the stress on the less known facts in human experience when it 
is the clearly known which we are seeking. 

The second chapter on the nature of belief is interesting enough, and 
rightly recognizes the prior importance of this factor in any discussion of 

348 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

religion. But there is a tendency, prevalent among other writers also, to re- 
gard feeling as the main factor in religious belief. It seems to us that the 
author does not adequately reckon with the equivocations of this tenn. This 
fault, however, is not his alone. It is to us the fundamental delect of alt 
discussions of religious belief. To us, religious belief, as belief, does not 
differ from any other type of acceptance of truth. Belief is " assent to propo- 
sition," if we may adopt Green's statement, and, in religion, it is precisely the 
same mental state that it is in physics or politics. " Feeling " is also the same 
phenomenon in all human experience. As remarked, the term is a most 
equivocal one. There are three distinct meanings attaching to it. The first 
is a name tactual sensation; the second is a name for emotional states or the 
inner reflexes of pleasure and pain accompanying perhaps all other mental . 
activities; and the third is ineradicable contnction. With writers who want 
some word to express the last datum in settling doubt, they use the term 
" feeling." But this is only to admit defeat where a reason is rightly ex- 
pected. In discussing religion, however, we require to know which of these 
conceptions of the term is meant. The vague abstract import which involves 
all three is worthless and makes it only a word, which, in fact, has no useful 
content. If» we mean the third import of it, the term is not distinguishable 
from " belief," and to make it the second is to use a term which does not 
distinguish religion from politics or art. 

There is, to us, too much of a tendency to treat religion as something 
tmique and wholly different from other mental attitudes. It may have a 
certain cohesiveness or tenacity which some other beliefs do not have. But 
if this is true it is because of certain interests which avail to intensify our 
allegiance rather than because of any difference in kind in the mental elements 
constituting it. The ** feeling " element of religion, as we said, is the same as 
the emotional aspect of all other objects of human concern. It is the one 
fixed aspect of it. The variable element is its object or content This is 
determined by the modifications of "belief" which individuals undergo be- 
tween infancy and maturity. If we are seeking a defence of religion, it must 
lie in the determination of a valid belief in regard to certain real supposed 
fundamental beliefs, and not in the determination of an emotional element 
If we can fix some belief, we shall have no difficulty in determining what 
" religion " can be held and made permanent. But as long as its content is 
variable and subject to the scepticism which falls to every stage of belief 
which claims dogmatic assurance before the mind can have it. there will be 
discussion of its problems. 

The last four chapters are somewhat new on this subject. They still show 
the defects of a discussion which does nothing to prove the objects which arc 
supposedly essential to " religion," but they are important in the study of the 
evolution of what passes as " religion." Far be it from us to depreciate their 
value, as we do not forget that we must understand psychologically how 
doubt on religious matters rises if we are to remove it The chapter on the 
development of belief in youth is especially important in this connection. But 
I am sure that all who are seeking some criterion for the determination of a 
legitimate object of religious belief will not find it here. If we are going to 
make the religious view of life depend on the existence of a personal Deity 
and the belief in a future life, we should see that we do something more than 
analyze past and present conceptions. We must fix the content which we 
recognize. Otherwise we shall have to change that content and adopt some- 
thing having more stability than theism and a future life. What will that be ? 

Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 349 


Balfour, The Right Hon. A. J.. M. P.. F. R. S., 4 Carlton Gardens, 
London, S. W., England. (Honorary Fellow.) 

Crookes, Sir William, 7 Kensington Park Gardens, London, W., 
England. (Honorary Fellow.) 

Dana, Dr. Charles L., 53 West S3rd Street, New York City. 
(Honorary Fellow.) 

Floumoy, Prof. Th., The University, Geneva, Switzerland. 
(Honorary Fellow.) 

Hall, Prescott F., 60 State Street, Boston, Mass, 

Rayleigh, Lord, Terling Place, Witham, Essex, England. (Hon- 
orary Fellow.) 

Richet, Professor Charles^ 15 Rue de L'Universite, Paris, France. 
(Honorary Fellow.) 

Schrenck-Notzing, Dr. Freiherr von, 2 Max Joseph Strasse, 
Munich. Germany. (Honorary Fellow.) 


Beaman, Middleton G., 211 The Cordova, Washington, D. C. 

Cowan, James J., P. O. Box 456, Colorado Springs, Col. 

Driscoll, James F., c>t. Joseph's Seminary, Yonkers, N. Y. 

Hcald, Pusey, M. D., 409 Washington Street, Wilmington, Del. 

Lauritzen, Severin, Holte, Denmark. 

McChesney, John T., Everett, State of Washington. 

Podmore, Frank, 6 Holly Place, Hampstead, London, N. W., 
England. (Honorary Member.) 

Putnam, Dr. James, 106 Marlborough Street, Boston, Mass. 

Seewald, Henry, c|o Clinton H. Blake. Braydon Street, Engle- 
wood, N. J. 

Sherwood, Mrs. Warner, 465 West 157th Street, New York City. 

Taylor, Lieut. Col. G. LeM., 6 College Lawn, Cheltenham, Sur- 
rey, England. (Honorary Member.) 

Westcott, Mrs. Clarence L., 243 West 75th St., New York City. 


Clinton, De Witt, City Treasurer, 22 City Hall, Worcester, Mass. 
Cole, Irving W., 200 Lancaster Ave., Buffalo, N. Y. 
Collier's Weekly, 416 West 13th Street, New York City. 
Dallas, Miss Helen A., " Innisfail," Cross Roads, London, N. W., 

Franklin Institute, The, 13-17 South Seventh St., Philadelphia, Pa. 
Hall, Ira C, Interlaken, Seneca County, N. Y. 
Humiston, W. H., 228 West 114th Street, New York City. 
Hutcheson, Dr. R. W., Rockville Centre, Nassau Co.. N. Y. 

350 Additional Members: 

Kendall, Mrs. Fredeiick W., Hamburg, N. Y. 
Knowlton, A. E., Haddon Heights, New Jersey. 
Lay, Mrs. H. L., 131 West Third Street, Oil City, Pa. 
Matthies, W. W., Walden, N. Y. 
Moore, Mrs. T. M., 78 Summer Street, Buffalo, N. Y. 
Norton, John B., Lawrence, Long Island, N. Y. 
Oldham, E. E., Treasury Department, Washington, D. C. 
Place, J. M., 239 North Capital Street, Washington, D. C. 
Potter, R. B., 160 Fifth Avenue, New York City. 
Reed, Mrs. A. H., Brandon, Vt. 

Revue du Spiritisme, 40 Boulevard Exelmans, Paris, France. 
Richardson, C. G., Springfield, Vermont. 
Shirley, James, 43 Cedar Street, New York City. 
Sterling, Edward C, Redlands, Cal. 

Tatum, Lawrence W., 424 New York Life Bldg., Chicago, 111. 
Toole, John R., Bonner, Montana. 

Townsend, John R., P. O. Box 307, Colorado Springs, Col. 
Trask, Spencer, 54 William Street, New York City. 
Wild, C. R., 209 Bell Block, Cincinnati, Ohio. 
Word, The, Theosophical Publishing Co., 244 Lenox Ave., New 
York City. 

Total Number of Fellows, Members and Associates (May, 

1907) 534 

Additional Members (June) 48 

Total 582 

Vol I.— No. 7. July, 1907. 



rican Society for Psycliical Researcli 


GnsKAL Aktxclxs : pagb 

Omar Khajrram and Psychical Re- 
learch 351 

Editoriai. - 3CT 

IifCiDEzrrs : paob 

Dream—Colxiddeiital - - - - 361 
MediuflAistic—Predictioiia - - - 363 
Apparition 368 



I By Hereward Carrington. 

There is a universal belief that every poet is also more or 
less of a prophet, and that in his verse there are to be found, 
if considered rightly, certain inner, mystical meanings ; and 
that he displays a large amount of insight into, and knowl- 
edge of the essence of things, which is unobtainable by the 
writer of prose, and, in fact, such knowledge does not come 
to any but the true poet. That there is more or less founda- 
tion for this belief cannot be doubted, and it can readily be 
proved, I think, by considering any of the works of almost 
^ny poet we might care to discuss. This is, of course, par- 
ticularly the case in such avowedly mystical verse as that of 
Omar Khayyam, which deals with the deepest philosophical 
problems and shows that whatever the personal character of 
Omar mig-ht have been, — ^whether ascetic or not, — he was at 
least a profound thinker, and had a thorough knowledge of 
the science, the philosophy and the metaphysics of his day. 
So deeply involved in mysticism is some of Omar's verse in- 
deed, that it is almost unintelligible to us, unless read in the 
light of the understanding which a study of metaphysics, of 
philosophy and of psychical research phenomena gives to us. 
Unless we are acquainted with the fundamental problems 
much of his poetry loses its true significance ; but that Omar 

352 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 

Khayyam saw deeply into the inner meaning and mysteries 
of things there can be no question, — as I hope to make clear 
in the following brief discussion of some portions of his verse. 
The great problems of death and futurity; speculations as to 
the nature of the Deity ; his relation to the world ; fatalism, 
idealism, and many other deeply important questions were 
touched upon by Omar and treated in a manner which shows 
that he was acquainted with the great problems that had to 
be solved, though he had no means of solving them- Let us 
consider briefly some few of the stanzas in the light of mod- 
ern philosophy and metaphysics, and see if we can interpret, 
and render somewhat clearer, the inner meaning of some oi 
these verses; and at the same time show how deeply Omar 
had studied and considered these great questions. Modern 
science has, of course, discredited the idea that heaven and 
hell are definite places, but rather accepts the idea that they 
are (if they exist at all), certain states or phases of develop- 
ment of the individual, who reaches a certain degree of per- 
fection according to his own efforts, — as the result of his 
work, and of that only ; that is, he must himself achieve any 
results that are obtained, and while there are doubtless cer- 
tain degrees of happiness which are attainable in any future 
state (granting that such exists), it is now generally recog- 
nized that such happiness or development can only be 
reached as the result of our own individual effort, and not 
because of the partial preference of some external Deity. 
All life, all development, all growth must come from within, 
it must well upwards and outwards from a central spring of 
being; that is, we must always look inward instead of out- 
ward for the real spirit that animates the universe, and if 
this inner subjective being is spiritually blind, and lacking in 
apprehension and understanding, then no amount of external 
knowledge can impart such understanding, for " real knowl- 
edge is spiritual and can only be perceived by the spirit" 
Now, bearing this in mind, consider how beautifully Omar 
expressed these thoughts when he said: 

''I sent my Soul through the Invisible, 
Some Letter of that After-life to spell : 

And by and by my Soul retum'd to me. 
And answered, " I Myself am HeaTen and Hell : " 

Omar Khayyam and. Psychical Research. 353 

Heav'n but the Vision of fulfiU'd Desire, 
And Hell the Shadow from a Soul on Fire, 

Cast on the Darkness into which Ourselves, 
So late emerged from, shall so soon expire." 

Now let US consider this a little more fully. It will be 
noticed that Omar describes heaven merely as " the visiofi of 
fulfilled desire," — not the fulfillment itself; that is, it is al- 
ways a little beyond our actual realization and grasp, en- 
forcing in us a continued upward striving and effort, rather 
than the cessation of all such active effort — which its actual 
realization would bring. Consider now the second part of 
the verse, " Hell the Shadow from a Soul on Fire." Now, in 
the first place, anything that is " on fire " does not itself cause 
a shadow, it causes light, and for a shadow to be caused, 
there must be an illuminated surface, and an opaque body 
introduced between the light and the illuminated surface, 

" Cast on the Darkness into which Ourselves, 
So late emerged from, shall so soon expire." 

Now I have just said that a shadow is not cast on dark- 
ness, but on an illuminated surface, — so that this verse would 
seem to be the exact opposite of the truth if we cannot find 
some other meaning than that which the actual words con- 
vey. Let us see if some other interpretation is not possible. 
Let us suppose a gas jet illuminating the side of a wall. It 
would, of course, cast light and not shadow, as I have just 
stated. But suppose that a far more brilliant light than the 
gas were suddenly to be introduced close behind the gas, 
what would be the effect? The outline of the gas flame, 
being so far less brilliant, would cast a shadow, though itself 
a light, and would act as an opaque body! Perhaps this 
verse would seem to signify that our own conscious life and 
will is so far less mighty and significant than that of the con- 
sciousness and will that is supposed to include us — ^that our 
own minds but serve to dim and disfigure and render less 
clear of expression the all-embracing consciousness of which 
we are presumably a fraction. 

Now let us consider Omar's conception of the Deity him- 
self. Omar very clearly held to the theory of pantheism 
which our modern philosophical doctrine of idealistic monism 

354 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

enables us to understand more thoroughly than was possible 
in Omar's time; subject and object, perceiver and perceived, 
are but the two varying aspects of the one underlying cause 
which is equally both; and that Omar recognized this is 
clearly proved when he said, in speaking of the Deity and the 
drama of human life : 

" Which for the pastime of Eternity, 

He doth Himself contrive, enact, behold." 

That Omar was a fatalist goes without saying, the idea of 
extreme fatalism running throughout his verse and rendering 
it at times, almost despairing in tone, at others rendering him 
indignant or scornful. Fatalism is a different thing from the 
modern philosophical doctrine of determinism, though both 
are opposed to free-will. We have, apparently, of course, 
free choice in all our actions ; that is, we are enabled to do 
what we want to do; but determinism says that we are not 
enabled to do anything of the kind. The fact that we can 
apparently do so is mere illusion, and that our action is in 
every case determined by our previous actions, environment, 
mode of life and external and internal influences and causes; 
— so that, when any action is performed, it is the result of 
these influences and their necessary result ; t. e., we are never 
enabled to choose freely, or perform any action that is other 
than the direct and inevitable result of previous actions, 
thoughts and environment. If we could get a large enough 
mental perception and grasp, as it were, of such forces acting 
upon ourselves, we could see how it is that in other cases, our 
action is necessitated, and not the result of deliberate choice 
or free will, — though the illusion of free will will always be 
present. This differs from fatalism, as I understand it, in 
that it does not necessitate the planning or intervention of 
any external mind or Deity — other than the mental and phy- 
sical forces of the universe; while fatalism supposes an ex- 
ternal mind which has planned everything from the begin- 
ning, and each action and event as it occurs, is consequently 
inevitable, and has been planned from the very creation of 
things. Doubtless such thoughts prompted Omar to write 
Verse 73 : 

Omar Khayyam and Psychical Research. 355 

" With Earth's first Clay They di<l the Last Man knead. 
And there of the Last Harvest sow'd the Seed : 

And the first Morning of Creation wrote 
What the Last Dawn ofi Reckoning shall read" 

This idea that the universe is planned out, as it were, in ad- 
vance is somewhat different from the doctrine which main- 
tains that everything has, in a sense, actually happened, — we 
merely perceiving such actions as we reach certain states or 
stages in our journey through life ; that is, all future events 
are actually existent at present, but the reason that we do not 
perceive them is that we have not yet arrived at the point of 
view that enables us to perceive them, — nor will we until the 
appropriate time has arrived. Perhaps we may be enabled 
to grasp this idea a little more fully when we consider the 
following simple analogy. Let us suppose ourselves on the 
hind platform of the rear car of a train which is travelling at 
a more or less rapid rate of speed. As the train moves, we 
perceive, at either side of us, altered scenery, and the country 
seems suddenly to be changed, — new scenes coming into 
view and others vanishing. But it will be seen that in this 
case the landscape newly perceived is not actually created; 
it does not come into being at the moment we perceived it ; 
it has always existed, and the reason why it has not existed 
far us before, is that we have not been in a position to per- 
ceive it until that moment; and when the landscape recedes 
in the distance, it is not annihilated, but remains unaltered ; 
but for us it has vanished — for the reason that we are no 
longer in a position to perceive it. Thus it is that events 
may perhaps exist in some real or " noumenal " world which 
are only perceived by us, as phenomena, at certain definite 
stages, or times for their perception. That we are, our- 
selves, but phenomena, shadows, — the result, perhaps, of the 
thought of some intelligence or Deity, was strongly sug- 
gested to Omar, and he meant to embody that thought, 
doubtless, in the following stanza : 

" We are no other than a moving row 
Of Magic Shadow-shapes that come and go 

Round with the Sun-illumined Lantern held 
In Midnight by the Master of the Show." 

356 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. l 

At times Omar grew weary of his speculations and his 
philosophy, and relapsed into the attitude either of indigna- 
tion at the Deity who had set such insoluble problems for 
man to solve ; or, at other times, he would advocate drowning 
all thought and reflection in the wine cup ; while at still other 
times, the humorous aspect of the whole affair would dawn 
upon him with irresistible force, and he advised us to retire 
to some secluded spot, where we could forget all such prob- 
lems and 

" In some comer of the hubbub couched 
Make game of that which makes as much of thee ! " 

Yet Omar, in the end, wished soijie such inspiration as faith 
or knowledge might give, and, after his renunciation of phil- 
osophy, and advocacy of peaceful retirement and contempla- 
tion, as the only method of gaining happiness, and the re- 
nouncing of one's self to the inevitable, — still he raises a 
piteous cry for further knowledge, for more light, for greater 
inspiration and support when he wrote: 

" Would but the Desert of the Fountain yield 
One glimpse — if dimly, yet indeed, reveal'd, 

To which the fainting Traveller might spring. 
As springs the trampled herbage of the field ! '* 

This shows that Omar was after all but human, and that in 
spite of his renunciation of philosophy, and his advocacy of 
forgetting all but the present moment, he still desired and 
craved that for which all mankind craves — for which it con- 
tinues to strive. Whether or not our knowledge -will ever 
be such as to place these problems beyond the realm of faith, 
and into that of certitude remains to be seen ; but the meand 
by which this can best be acomplished are, I think, the pcr^ 
sistent and continued investigation of the problems that 
arise in connection with the study of Psychical Research, 

Editorial. 357 


The second number of the Proceedings has just been issued 
and contains the following papers : 

The first article is A Case of Clairvoyance, by Professor 
William James. The second is A Record of Experiences by a 
gentleman who desires his name withheld from publication. 
The next paper is entitled The McCaffrey Case and embodies 
an investigation of a remarkable dream^ purporting to reveal 
buried treasure and which resulted in the finding of papers 
apparently representing great value. The last paper con- 
tains the results of an inquiry regarding the alleged move- 
ment of physical objects without contact, and is so entitled. 
A third number of the Proceedings will be issued in the au- 

It is important to mention one correction necessary in 
the June Journal, as it affects the sense of the statement so 
clearly. On page 339, lines 19 and 24 should read as follows, 
the mistake in altering the original sentence being due to 
the proof reader, and the error in spelling " credible " being 
due to the printer after the proofs were sent in. Other errors 
in the number we allow to stand. But the sentence referred 
to should read as follows, as it was in the original manuscript 
and proofs : 

" As a scientific body, pretending to employ strict scien- 
tific methods, we have to present such a mass of evidence as 
will satisfy the fundamental criterion of truth, which is suffi- 
cient frequency in the occurrence of alleged phenomena to 
make them credible as a systematic feature of the cosmic 

358 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 


The Society assumes no responsibility for anything pub- 
lished under this head, and no indorsement is implied except 
that it has been furnished by an apparently trustworthy con- 
tributor whose name is given unless withheld at his own re- 

The following case illustrates very clearly the extent to 
which we have to be on the alert in regard to the trust- 
worthiness of alleged facts. I quote it solely because it is 
so a propos of the precautions which are so necessary in this 

New York, May loth, 1906. 
On May 3rd I received the following letter which explains 
itself. It was written as indicated the previous day. 

May 2nd, 1906. 
My dear Dr. Hyslop: 

For some years I have successfully developed various oc- 
cult powers in a number of people; recently I learned of your 
great investigating work, and I would be pleased to meet you 
and present to you one of my subjects if this is agreeable to you. 
Kindly let me know. 

Very truly yours, 

L. s. M . 

I replied that I would be very glad to meet the man with 
his subject. On May 8th I received a reply from the gentle- 
man saying he would call with his subject on May loth. He 
promptly reported with a lady whom he introduced as his 
wife. He was to call about 10 A. M., but some mistake in 
cars detained them until about 10.30. 

When they arrived I proceeded to interview them in re- 
gard to their phenomena and ascertained that the man had 
received communications from the sun and had perfectly defi- 
nite views about things in that place with a definite theory 
about the conditions which made life possible there. Appar- 
ently both were sincere about their experiences, and I ex- 
plained the difficulties of accepting anything of the kind 
without careful records which the- • had jig^^ept. 


Incidents, 359 

I explained to them Flournoy's case of alleged communica- 
tions from the planet Mars. The conversation then turned 
to what the man had done to experiment in this way and he 
explained that he had used magnets and crystals to bring 
about his results. I may add here that I saw magnets and 
crystals in his apartment afterwards. 

After our conversation ended regarding the communica- 
tions from the sun the man remarked that he heard I was in- 
terested in communications from the dead and said he also 
received such in his experiments. I expressed my interest 
in trying for this immediately. This we proceeded to do. 

The man lit some incense and placed it in a metal cup to 
burn for a few minutes and his wife threw back her head on 
the back of a chair. In two minutes she was apparently in 
a trance and the communications began in a somewhat in- 
terrupted manner. It is not important to give the record 
as it was wholly irrelevant to me and showed neither perti- 
nence nor any indications of previously acquired knowledge 
about me or my relatives when this would have been very 
easy on their part. But at the close the woman suddenly 
cried out: " Wake me up quick; Arthur is dead." I marked 
the time, 11.30 A. M. The man awakened the woman and 
she said that the child* at their house was dead. She was 
sure of it and that they had left him well. She said he had 
had a fall some two weeks previous. The man appeared some- 
what concerned and wanted to calm her. I remarked that I 
thought they would find the fear unwarranted and the whole 
thing was a result of subliminal action. But I asked them 
to let me know if anything had taken place when they arrived 
at home. The next evening I received the following letter 
from the man. 

May nth, 1906. 
My Dear Sir : 

The following is the explanation in regaid to the cry: "Ar- 
thur is dead." The little boy had climbed onto his swing and, 
without holding himself, swung back and forth and sideways; 
suddenly he fell, and so unfortunately that his head struck an 
iron toy. The nurse tried for some time to revive him, and 
when she did not succeed, called to the maid to phone for the 
doctor, adding " Arthur is dead." 

360 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 

She knew the time was about ii :30 because that was our lit- 
tle baby's feeding time and she had prepared some food after 
telling the maid to phone. 

The boy regained consciousness after some hours. He may 

Very truly, 

L. s. M . 

On the day of the experiment it was not made clear to 
me that the child was not their own, but that was my im- 
pression in the excitement, as something was said indicating 
that it was a relative's. On receiving the above letter, how- 
ever, I resolved as soon as possible to go and make a per- 
sonal investigation of the facts. I could not go until Sunday, 
May 13th, which I did. 

On arrival I went up stairs to their apartment and was 
met at the back door by the wife and she directed me to the 
front door, where I would be admitted. I went back and 
was immediately met by the man. The apartment was a 
very modest one and poorly furnished. Magnets, crystals, 
etc., were about the room and I soon explained my errand. 
The man said the child had gone to New Haven and was 
much better. He said the family lived in the next apart- 
ment and I expressed a desire to see feome one in the family 
He remarked that he thought they would not like to have 
the facts published. But he thought his wife might persuade 
the family to tell the facts, but he said his wife had gone out 
and left him alone at home and that nothing coul(f be done 
then about it. He was willing to -write to me about the 
matter and let me know the facts. 

The reader can see that there was certainly one falsehood 
in the story, as I had met the wife at one door and the man 
at another, he not knowing that I had seen his wife, and she 
being the same person that had been with him at my resi- 
dence. It was clear that he did not want me to ascertain the 
exact facts in the case. 

I quote this instance as a good illustration of the ordeal 
through which every allegation has to pass before it can be 
accepted as evidence of a supernormal coincidence. Every 
individual must expect an investigation of incidents with the 

Incidents. 361 

view to soQie discrimination between them and such as are 
untrue. We are constantly exposed to dangerous pitfalls 
in these phenomena, and newspaper lying and misrepresenta- 
tion have made it tenfold more difficult than was formerly 
the case to authenticate alleged experiences. There was 
probably in the instance above recorded a desire on the part 
of the persons who came to me to obtain employment in 
this work or to sell their wares. They were too ignorant of 
the subject for us to treat this desire as in any sense criminal. 
I am quite willing to concede that it was excusable under 
the circumstances. But whatever the apology for such ac- 
tion, the circumstance does not serve as a defence of the alle- 
gations made. The story only shows what must be ex- 
pected of a scientist if he is to obtain any credit for phenom- 
ena claiming to be supernormal in their character. No inci- 
dent can be accepted at its superficial value and no person 
can expect the credulous acceptance of his experiences with- 
out some measure' of investigation to authenticate their al- 
leged character. Respectability and general honesty may 
suffice to obtain notice for one's statements, but these char- 
acteristics at least must be determinable as a condition of 
scientific consideration. 


DREAM.— Coincidental. 

The following is an account of a dream which might have 
been instrumental in its own fulfillment. The account shows 
that the subject of it evidently acted on the suggestion which 
the dream occasioned. The writer states in a separate letter 
that the dream occurred in 1903. The narrative was written 
on October 21st, 1905, and was sent to The Woman's Home 
Companion for publication there with a large number of other 
coincidental phenomena, but was turned over to me by the 
Editor. Inquiry of the gentleman resulted in confirmation 
of his story. The coincidence does not involve any proof 
of the supernormal, but is one of those incidents which we 
can accept as quite credible in itself, tho exposed to scep- 
ticism if any large theories were dependent upon it. It has 
the character of a premonition, but lacks the evidential qual- 

362 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

ity of such, not because the facts of the dream are dubious, 
but because the fulfillment is a possible result of auto-sug- 
gestion. In other words, the incident is one in which we 
may accept the facts as true and yet question any super- 
normal explanation that might be offered. The incident 
occurred in connection with the Methodist Episcopal Church 
of Middletown, Pa., in the experience of a former pastor 
there who writes from a later pastorate. 

" One night — I think it must have been a Wednesday night— 
I dreamt that I was standing in my pulpit on a Sunday morning 
(for I am a preacher) preaching to my people. Everything was 
very vivid and real. I saw the whole surroundings of church 
and congregation clearly. I was urging the people to labor for 
the salvation of their friends. Before closing 1 turned my re- 
marks to any unsaved who might be present. I said : ' Unsaved 
one! what have I been doing? I have been urging these people 
not to labor to save themselves, but to labor to save you. Now 
should you not be interested in yourself.* Then, stepping from 
the pulpit to the altar rail, I said, holding out my hand, is there 
one who will come and by taking me by the hand declare by 
that to this congregation that he will become a follower of the 
Lord Jesus. Instantly a man, 70 years of age, by the name of 
Mr. H , walked out and took my hand. 

" When I awoke in the morning the dream was clearly in my 
mind. Thinking about it, I said, now I do not believe in dreams 
particularly, but here I have made a sermon in my sleep. I will 
repreach that as nearly as I can. I will act out the whole dream 
as I had it. I will step down and hold out my hand and give the 
same invitation as I did in my dream and see what comes of it. 

" Without telling any one of the matter I prepared accord- 
ingly. When I appeared before the congregation that Sunday 
morning I was encouraged by seeing the man of my dream in 
the congregation. I went through with the sermon as I had 
been doing in my dream, and when I held out my hand and 
gave the invitation, to the astonishment of the large audience 

and my delight Mr. H , the man of my dream, came out 

and took me by the hand, as I had seen him do in my dream. 

" He was a man well thought of in the community and many 
efforts had been made by others to get him to declare himself 
for Christ and join the church. When a former pastor heard of 
the matter he sent me a letter congratulating me that I had 
managed to win him. 

" Yours in search of the truth, 


Incidents, 363 

The incident beyond the mental control of the narrator 

was the actual conversion and action of Mr. H ; but 

we might regard this as a chance coincidence, tho many 
similar coincidences might suggest something else. With a 
view to ascertaining how much chance might have done in 
the case I asked the narrator the extent of his acquaintance 
and experience with the man and he replied that he had met 
him as a pastor meets his people, had visited his family, and 
spent half an hour or so in conversation with him. He had 
also met him on the street and saw him at other times at ser- 
vices. Mr. H sat on the extreme left of the minister 

and seven seats from the front or about the middle of the 
tiers of seats. Apparently, therefore, there were influences, 

internal and external, acting on the mind of Mr. H to 

declare himself on religious matters and we might assume 
that the occasion had made the minister specially earnest and 
impressive, so that we can imagine the coincidence to have 
been one of chance, in so far as the supernormal is concerned, 
tho possibly causal if we take the natural course of things on 
the occasion. This does not erase the coincidence nor re- 
move its interest as such, tho it may deprive it of evidential 
importance in favor of more than the usual causal agencies 
in such instances. But the main fact is that we do not re- 
quire to be sceptical of the facts in the case. The doubt must 
apply to any alleged explanation, and so the incident comes 
as one which it is not difficult to believe in respect of its con- 
tents and apparent significance. 

A letter from a gentleman to whom Mr. Crawford re- 
ferred me says that he knew this Mr. H as a man entirely 

indifferent to religious matters. 

MEDIUMISTIC— Predictions. 

The next case has more striking coincidences in it, and 
represents an experiment with a medium. I can vouch for 
the trustworthy source of the narrative as it comes from an 
uncle of my own. He is a man of scrupulous religious be- 
liefs and habits, belongs to the Calvinistic faith, and has never 
been in the habit of either consulting or experimenting with 

364 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 

mediums. This adventure was the result of a casual resolu- 
tion, and, to make the experiment, my uncle visited a town 
forty miles distant from his home. He is a business man 
known as any similar man would be known in his community, 
but is not publicly known in the country in which he carries 
on his business. He is of a quiet and retiring character, 
makes few intimate friends, and is not widely known as a 
man in any respect. He is interested specially in religious 
and missionary matters and is an intelligent person regarding 
these and his business affairs. He would not be known in 
the circle of persons interested in psychic research, as he has 
carefully kept such interest as he may have in the subject 
from the knowledge of his most intimate family connections 
as well as others. Consequently he would not be readily 
known in mediumistic circles. The following experience was 
told me last summer, as remarked below, and was afterward 
written out for me. The dates will show the relation of the 
narrative to the fulfillment of the predictions made to him. 
As I have remarked, my uncle visited a town forty miles dis- 
tant to have his experiment, casually undertaken, and ac- 
cording to his statement to me did not reveal his identity at 
the time. The following is his account of the results given 
from memory : 

, , Oct. 24th, 1905. 

Mr. James H. Hyslop, 
New York City, 
My Dear Nephew: 

Your letter of Oct. 2nd came duly to hand, but I have been 
so exceedingly busy with all the details of our new building and 
moving our business into it, that I have not had time to answer. 

The medium with whom I talked had never seen nor heard of 
me and could have no idea of who I was, or anything pertaining 
to my individuality. She sat me down at a small table, sat her- 
self down at the other side, took mv right hand in her right hand, 
put her elbow on the table and her left hand over her eyes. 
Everything was still for two or three minutes, when she re- 
marked : — 

" I see you returning from a long journey ; you are coming 
from the East. I think your journey extended beyond the ex- 
treme eastern part of our country into some foreign land." She 
immediately added, " You will start on another journey in a few 

Incidents. 3t>5 

^yh going toward California." I said, " No, I am not going 
on any such journey." " Yes, you are," was the prompt reply ; 
"you may not know anything about it now, but you will start 
not later than four or five days at the farthest. You will go to 
meet a gentleman on important business matters. You may not 
go as far as California, but I see you already on your way to 
meet them." 

This interview was Friday P. M., and on Sunday evening I 
received a telegram requesting me to meet three gentlemen 150 
miles south of this place. 

She resumed : — " Your mother is in the spiiit world. You 
were her favorite child. She died suddenly when you were 
away from home. You were very ill yourself when you received 
the message to go to her. You were scarcely able to travel, but 
she died the day before you reached home. She left a loving 
message for you. She should not have died. The physicians 
did not understand her case at all ; had they done so, she could 
easily have recovered." 

She also said : " I see two elderly ladies in your home. One 
of them will soon be in the spirit world." This came true two 
or three weeks later in the death of Aunt Cora. 

" I see in your home a young woman, 30 or a little more, 
years of age. She will start on a journey toward the East in a 
few days. The sooner she goes the better. Some people are 
trying to make serious trouble for her, but she will succeed. I 
see another young woman about the same age — these two are 
about the same height, both fair complexioned, both have blue 
eyes. The second one has with her two little children ; she will 
leave your home in a few days, going in the opposite direction." 

I do not remember further details of the conversation, but 
all of the statements she made which were not true at that time 
came true in a very short time, just as she said they would. 

Your aunt continues about as when you were here. She 
keeps up wonderfully well. Remember us to^our little boy. 
Your affectionate uncle, 

J M 

519 West 149th St., New York. 

Oct. 30th, 1905. 
I received the above letter this morning. It is from my 
uncle who told me personally these incidents when I visited 

him in this summer during August, the last of the 

month. He has omitted one incident from the present nar- 
rative which I shall add. It related to his wife, my aunt by 
blood. The medium also predicted her death in two years 

366 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 

from the time of the sitting. She is an invalid and has been 
an invalid for many years. Also my uncle does not state in 
his letter when the sitting was held. I asked for dates as far 
as possible. But in the conversation with me on my visit he 
said the sitting was about a year ago, and only a short 
time before my aunt Cora died. The prediction in her case 
came true, as the account indicates, and it remains to be seen 
if the second one occurs. 


June 7th, 1906. 
On May 28th (1906) I wrote my uncle to make inquiries 
in regard to the details of his record and the following are 
the results. 

My uncle had returned from Palestine only a short time 
before. The telegram called him into Oregon, south of his 
home. He was the favorite child of his mother. She died 
very suddenly with what the doctors diagnosed as congestion 
of the liver. It was the opinion of a friend that her life 
could have been saved and it wa§ admitted that her case was 
not fully understood. My uncle was very ill at the time he 
received the message to come to her bedside and was scarcely 
able to travel. He arrived after her death. 

His two younger daughters were at his home at the time 
of the sitting, and one of them had two children: the other 
none. There was no reason at the time to suppose that any 
one was making trouble for her in the east, but when she 
arrived in the east to which place she already intended going 
she found that some one was making trouble in a very im- 
portant matter. The other sister left in a few days after the 
sitting and went northwest. The sitting was held about 
October ist, 1904. My aunt Cora died on October nth. 

IQ04, and my aunt on April 24th, 1906. 

Takinsr the account as it stands I think no one would sup- 
statements of the medium were due to guess- 
-e most probably not due to chancje of any kind. 
W€ could attribute therri to any supernormal 
quiring information will depend on conditions 
specified in the account and that are, perhaps. 

Incidents. 367 

not now determinable. Personally I think it most probable 
that my uncle was not known by the woman to whom he 
went. He was not personally known to her nor was she to 
him. But there are other important weaknesses evidentially 
in the account which make it unnecessary to urge the possi- 
bility of previous knowledge by the medium. I shall enu- 
merate these defects which a critic and sceptic would most 
naturally put forward. 

( I ) No contemporary record was made of the facts. The 
whole account was given to me more than a year after the 
occurrence of the events. (2) There is no consideration of 
what the sitter may have said or asked on the occasion. Nor 
is there any indication of the irrelevancies and errors which 
were most probable in the unremembered statements of the 
medium. Apparently only the hits are recalled. 

A most important fact to be remarked in regard to the 
experience is that my uncle, according to his own specific 
statements in answer to inquiries, had never visited a medium 
before in his life and went in this case in consequence of some 
suggestion of an acquaintance, and went himself only out of 
curiosity. It was not with any serious purpose, scientific or 
otherwise, that he went. But as the matter was suggested 
to him by what a friend had told him, I had to make in- 
quiries to ascertain whether this person might have con- 
sciously or unconsciously deceived him by imparting informa- 
tion to the medium. The response to my inquiries brought 
out the fact that the friend's name must be kept confidential ; 
that he was not a spiritualist ; that he was a person who could 
be trusted entirely and would not deceive any one in the 
manner conceived ; that my uncle had known of his visiting a 
medium but once, and that the friend did not suggest visiting 
the medium by any advice or recommendation. The sug- 
gestion was but that of example. 

While the incident cannot be quoted as possessing evi- 
dential value of itself it certainly represents to me a justifir 
cation for inquiry. I happen to know my uncle well enough 
not to turn the facts away in the usual manner in which the 
scientific man, perhaps excusably, disregards similar narra- 
tives. The incidents are hardly due to chance or guessing 

368 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

and if we were absolutely assured against a natural scepticism 
we might use the incidents as evidential of something super- 
normal. I shall not give this value to them taken alone. But 
they at least invoke the spirit of inquiry. Personally I am 
inclined to believe that the incidents are supernormal, tho I 
could not adduce the facts as satisfactory proof of this char- 
acter. It is my experience with instances which are eviden- 
tial and which exhibit the same characteristics that induces 
me to classify the phenomena as most probably supernormal 
and of the spiritistic type. 

It may strengthen this judgment of them to mention the 
results of some experiments which I have since had with 
two mediums. It was impossible, under the circumstances, 
for either of them to have had any previous knowledge of 
the facts, as they involved events that had occurred three 
thousand miles distant and the mediums were not profes- 
sional, one of them in no sense of the term, and the other 
limiting her work largely to friends. 

In the latter of these cases the name of my uncle was 
spontaneously given and I was told that his wife was pres- 
ent. When I asked for her name I received at once the cor- 
rect name. A few weeks afterward, when experimenting 
with Mrs. Smead, whose case has been briefly described in 
the Annals of Psychical Science, my father purporting to com- 
municate, indicated that this aunt had been mentioned 
through another medium and gave her name. The most in- 
teresting feature of the message was the fact that her name 
was spelled wrongly, but in precisely the way in which this 
name had been spelled in the Piper experiments, tho not 
referring to this aunt. Through another private case the 
same mistake was made in spelling this name. 


The following incident is one of several which I have re- 
ceived from the same person. The present one is substan- 
tiated by the person who witnessed the occurrence. 

Incidents. 369 

Versailles, Ind., April 17th, 1907. 
Prof. James H. Hyslop, New York. 
Dear Sir: 

Inclosed you will find a true experience of mine, which you 
can use. While it is nothing startling, to me it was exceedingly 
interesting, and you may be able to get something out of it. 



It was one evening in August, two years ago, when Miss 
Nellie Schwartz, a trained nurse, and I sat in our room with the 
lamp light burning dimly. We had not been seated long when 
I saw the form of a young man enter and stand at her right as 
she sat opposite me. I described him to her, first telling her 
his name. He said his name was Ollie Warren. I heard both 
names distinctly given together. Never had I heard the names 
before. His clothes were faded and brown and seemed too 
loose for him, for he looked shrunken in them, so very thin was 
he. As he stood there I became conscious of a strong feeling of 
tobacco, but I couldn't get rid of the thought of tobacco. I 
thought, Oh, if he would only leave. Such a strong feeling of 
repugnance came over me that I said to Miss S., " Oh, I do wish 
he would go, I don't like to have him here, I wish he would 
leave ! " As she said nothing, I felt stronger than ever that she 
was to blame for his presence, and I fell to blaming her 
(mentally). Then he spoke. "Tell her," he said, "I have 
come to thank her for what she did -for me in my last hours," 
and he looked so shamefaced all the while he stood there, that I 
almost began to feel sorry. " Nellie," I said, " I believe he must 
have had consumption, for he is so very thin." " No," she said, 
"he passed out with delirium tremens! I could not resist his 
piteous appeals and so gave him small amounts of alcohol, con- 
trary to the doctor's orders, till he passed away." I saw him 
stand there exactly as a remorseful man would, looking so 
shamefaced that I would have felt sorry had not this great and 
unusual feeling of repugnance borne down upon me at sight of 
him. After delivering his message he disappeared. His nurse 
had never to my knowledge mentioned his name in my hearing 
nor had she spoken of him, and she did not recollect the young 
man nor the part she played till this reminder. If this state- 
ment is not all correct, as she remembers the incident, she will 
append a statement to that effect below this one of mine. 


I can truthfully say the above written by Miss Stockinger is 
absolutely true, and many more incidents equally as interesting. 


370 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 


[The following correspondence explains itself and will 
serve as the correction of an error that unwittingly crept 
into our printing of the article by Dr. MacDougall. — Editor.] 

Philadelphia, June loth, 1907. 
Dr. James H. Hyslop, 

No. 519 West 149th St., New York, 
Dear Sir:— 

The May number of the Journal contains a statement of ex- 
tremely interesting experiments by Duncan MacDougall, M. D., 
in weighing the bodies of persons at the moment of death. 
There is one point which I do not understand, and seems to in- 
volve an error either in the determined weight lost, or as a mis- 
print. On page 239 the report states " The loss was ascertained 
to be three-fourths of an ounce." On pages 267, 268, it is stated, 
" It took the combined weight of two silver dollars to lift the 
beam back to actual balance. On weighing these they were 
found together to weigh three-fourths of an ounce." 

Now, silver dollars weigh exactly one ounce each, unless they 
have lost slightly by long usage ; and therefore the weight of the 
two silver dollars showed a loss of two ounces at the moment of 
death instead of three-fourths of an ounce. 

Yours respectfully, 


Haverhill, Mass., June 12th, 1907. 
My Dear Dr. Hyslop: 

In answer to yours of yesterday, would say that the words 
" two silver dollars " were a misprint. It should have read, 
" two silver half-dollars." It read so in the manuscript, but your 
printer made the error. The two silver half-dollars, if new, 
would have weighed an ounce, but they were not new ; one was 
coined in 1858, and is quite badly worn ; the other was coined in 
1894, and is slightly worn. I weighed them again this morning, 
and found they weigh together 376 grains, which was the exact 
weight, as I remember the weight of the test. That is so near 
three-fourths of an ounce (360 grains) that I called it so. These 
half-dollars have lain in my safi ever since that night of the first 
test. They were used merely as a matter of convenience, as I 
did not want to disturb the shifting weight on the beam after it 
fell when the patient died. I began with smaller coins placed on 
the scale, but finally brought the beam back to the balance with 
the two silver half-dollars. Sincerely yours, 

D. MacDougall. 

Vol L— No. a August, 1907. 



American Society for Psychical Research 


Gbhbkal Abticlbs: paob 

PhikMophy. Pwrduloffy and Psjchfcal 
ReMaicb 371 

A Remarkable Medlumistic Ezperi- 
eooe - 382 

Editorial : paob 
The CattaoUc Church and Psychic Re- 
search 394 

Book Rbvxkw 397 

TRBa8URBK*8 RBPORT .... 400 


By James H. Hyslop. 

The only excuse that I shall offer for bringing the sub- 
ject of psychical research before the Philosophical Associa- 
tion is the invitation of the secretary to do so. I would not 
have voluntarily proposed it, as I have enough to bear in 
being known as thinking about it at all. But I am glad that 
an involuntary opportunity has occurred to present some 
features of the subject to a group of men who are, or ought 
to be, as much interested in the outcome or promises of its 
work as the scientific psychologist. I grant that many will 
think — and from the traditions of science may rightly think 
— that the subject belongs more properly to the experimental 
psychologist and hence to the Psychological Association. 
The experimental psychologist, however, keeps shy of it 
as yet and will probably not boast of any conquests until he 
can come in as the husband of the woman who killed the 
bear. The philosopher might well refer me to the psycholo- 
gists, and to the psychologists I would go if they were not 
joined to their idols. They will not even refer us to the 
philosophers, but pass by on the other side, and I rejoice to 
find that, as in Plato and Aristotle, the metaphysician widens 
his interest until we may say again — I hope with similar ap- 
proval — Homo sum : humani nihil a me alienum puto. Besides I 
recall that the Philosophic Association is itself the outcome 

• Paper read before the American Philosophical Association, Dec. 27th, 1906. 

372 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 

of a protest against ignoring that meaning of phenomena 
which keeps the spiritual vision, Plato's theoria, the philo- 
sophic passion, turned toward the wider horizon which even 
ordinary sense experience is forever revealing in the alembic 
of nature. This is ample excuse for you and for me to men- 
tion the residual facts of experience in the presence of those 
whose business it is to welcome any circumstance that may 
discover the movable limits of human knowledge. It is 
something, too, again to appear before a court which is will- 
ing to accept a suit that presumably belongs to another 
jurisdiction. I refer, of course, to Psychology. 

I can well appreciate the embarrassment of both parties 
in the petition to take up the quest of investigation in this 
matter. In the first place, the problems of psychic research, 
on one side of their nature at least, are scientific ones and 
for that reason are presumably excluded from the territory 
of philosophy and metaphysics. They are in certain respects 
at least apparently psychological. But as psychology in 
recent years has protested against any and all metaphysics 
and philosophy as irrelevant to its issues, an excuse may be 
sought to exclude psychic research from its purview in spite 
of certain affinities with that field. Experimental psychol- 
ogy especially alleges that its function is not to study the 
soul or to ascertain whether it exists or not, but to ascertain 
the uniformities of co-existence and sequence in the phe- 
nomena of consciousness, regardless of all questions whether 
these phenomena are functions of the brain or incidents in 
the life of a spiritual subject other than the brain. It will 
insist on such an assumption that it is no business of psy- 
chology to search either for a soul or its destiny, having to 
be content with the laws of mental phenomena and not to 
feel concern for their meaning either metaphysical or ethical. 
This, of course, is high ground and I would not contend 
against it, but for the human interest attaching to all facts 
aflFecting psychology of any kind. I should not so much 
insist that the experimental psychologist should make the 
problem one of his as I would ask at least tolerance for the 
work and respect for the field in which it must be done. If 
he will not admit it as a part of his own territory he must at 

Philosophy, Psychology and Psychical Research. 373 

least not claim a monopoly of scientific interest in the com- 
paratively narrow field of sticking pins into human subjects 
or measuring mental time. 

On the other hand, the problems of psychic research in- 
volve the method of science and psychology, even tho the 
conclusions be those at least bordering on metaphysics. If 
we are to assume that philosophy has nothing to do with 
scientific method we may well understand why it should has- 
ten to absolve itself from all duties in the premises, and so 
try to relegate a disagreeable task to psychology. But if 
philosophy will have none of it, we can make the same de- 
mands as upon the psychologist, namely, that no prejudices 
be admitted against the study of what must result in con- 
clusions of interest to both philosophy and psychology. 

The whole difficulty between the two groups of interest 
may be stated thus. Psychic research undoubtedly must be 
ruled by scientific method, and the scientific method of psy- 
chology at that, while its object is not the professed object 
of existing expjerimental psychology. Its object and con- 
clusions are related to those of metaphysics, and this too 
whether the conclusion be positive or negative. The prob- 
lem of psychical research regards the existence and destiny 
of the soul, while experimental psychology avows that it has 
no interest and no duties in such a problem. Let us grant 
its narrow conception of its interest and restore philosophy 
to the function which Plato gave it, namely, of comprehend- 
ing all human interests in its folds, and widen scientific 
method, or even philosophic method, sufficiently to disap- 
point psychology of its most precious possibilities. We have 
only three alternatives. First we may assume to study the 
problem as one vital to philosophy and allow psychology to 
go its blind and ignorant way; or, secondly, we can insist 
that psychology widen its scope sufficiently to comprehend 
what it so passionately eschews, or thirdly we may insist, if 
neither will accept the challenge, that both, after accepting 
a divorce from each other, may allow a dowry to the issues 
that gave rise to both of them. The method of the one and 
the object of the other, however, ought to devise a jiwcUis 
Vivendi for psychic research that may assure its pursuits. 

374 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

Philosophy on any conception of its field and duties can 
hardly ignore the problem, as any conclusion which either 
shows the limits of knowledge and duty or points to an ex- 
tension of their meaning, cannot fail to be of interest to its 
vocation. Psychology, on the other hand, can hardly avail 
to invoke any human interest unless its results are commen- 
surate with the most general problems of human life and 
will have either to incorporate psychic research in its terri- 
tory or welcome the attainment of conclusions that will make 
its own pursuits useful and effective. But whether in junc- 
tion or distinct from both of them, psychic research deserves 
the encouragement which the object of the one and the 
method of the other makes imperative. 

With this statement of general principles I may briefly 
summarize the aims of the work which this paper repre- 
sents. The new Society for Psychical Research for this 
country is the sequel of the death of Dr. Richard Hodgson 
and the consequent dissolution of the American Branch of 
the English Society. It was the intention of the persons 
organizing this new movement to have carried out their 
plans in conjunction with Dr. Hodgson, but his death pre- 
cipitated the organization of an independent body before the 
organizers were completely ready to put their plans into 

It was apparent from certain types of phenomena with 
which investigators came into contact that the field of psy- 
chical research prosecuted by the English Society needed to 
be greatly extended and to be made to take in the wide terri- 
tory of Abnormal Psychology and possibly some borderland 
phenomena between Physiology and Psychology. The per- 
sons interested, therefore, resolved to organize investiga- 
tion upon a larger scale than the parent Society. This led 
to the incorporation of the " American Institute for Scientific 
Research." This title was given it because the largest part 
of its field was more or less independent of that occupied by 
psychic research, or the supernormal. In this organization 
it was resolved to divide the territory into two divisions. 
Section " A " which should concern itself with Abnormal. 
Psychology, including hallucinations, secondary personality. 

Philosophy, Psychology and Psychical Research. 375 

functional mental diseases, hypnotism and all phenomena re- 
lated to various nervous troubles and the therapeutic methods 
necessary to understand them, and Section " B " which 
should occupy itself with the alleged supernormal experi- 
ences of telepathy, apparitions, clairvoyance, premonition, 
mediumship, dowsing, etc. The third section is merely an 
idea which it is hoped to realize later and relates to the 
problems of heredity, prenatal influences, the latter of which 
is without any adequate scientific support, if it has any 
grounds at all, and with these some problems on the border- 
line of both them. 

If the problems which the American Institute wishes to 
take up had only a scientific interest there would be little 
excuse for presenting their aims before the Philosophical As- 
sociation. But at least one field of the inquiry is vitally 
connected with philosophic issues. I refer to the problem 
of a future life. I refer to this, however, because I wish to 
recognize the general conception of the public and others 
regarding the work and at the same time to correct some of 
its illusions. It is time, after nearly twenty-five years work, 
to admit that there are and have been many additional ques- 
tions before the psychical researcher, and to urge that some 
suspense of judgment has still to be maintained regarding 
actual achievements. But among the problems which the 
Society has investigated and wishes still to investigate more 
thoroughly is that of a future life, and the human interest in 
it is such that we cannot escape the conviction of most peo- 
ple that we are concerned only with that. And I admit that 
it is this problem which is most intimately associated with 
the question of metaphysics. It is connected therewith be- 
cause it involves the problem of existence beyond the reach 
of sensory perception in its normal functions. The estab- 
lishment of any such conclusion must affect philosophy in 
its primary duties very profoundly and must lay the founda- 
tion of a very large reconstruction of things metaphysical, 
ethical and religious. 

Perhaps the question would have had less importance for 
many other ages. But the civilization of the West has lived 
so long within the shadows of a belief in a future life that 

376 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

the materialistic and agnostic reaction must naturally carry 
with it the loss of many ideals cherished under the domina- 
tion of that religious view of the world, and whatever we may 
say about the proper attitude of man toward the order of 
the cosmos; whatever abuses have characterized the belief 
in the past, and whatever strength human nature needs from 
a firm knowledge of the present and its place in individual 
self-realization, nevertheless if we wish to understand what 
value nature places on personality in comparison with other 
things in its alembic, we must come to some conclusion about 
the probabilities of this future being a fact or not. Far more 
than the satisfaction of a college professor is at stake. He 
can be trusted, with his salary and culture to enjoy himself, 
free from the bitter struggle for existence. He thinks he 
has nothing to pay to the ideals and hopes of the dull mil- 
lions that toil foredone at the wheel of labor, and can be 
independent of their wants and hopes. A day of reckon- 
ing will come, especially when that multitude holds the fran 
chise, and little grace will be shown to the philosopher who 
cannot reinstate some spiritual ideal which makes intellect- 
ual and aesthetic life worth while. Short shrift will the 
man have who cannot offer a quid pro quo for the leisure and 
opportunity to delve into the mysteries of the world. The 
economic ideal has possessed modern civilization and I think 
history shows clearly that, however necessary certain eco- 
nomic advantages may have for a certain self-realization, 
they do not in the least guarantee spiritual culture when 
they are possessed by a materialistic public. Something of 
the meaning of things beyond mere sensory life, especially 
for the unfortunate classes, who have as high spiritual ideals 
as we may cherish and yet have not found the chances for 
their realization. 

Assuming then that the philosopher will admit the legiti- 
macy of the problem, if not its importance, we may suggest 
the conditions under which it has to be solved. \\'e can no 
longer rely upon a priori speculation for our views of the uni- 
verse. \\'e are subject to empirical methods. The day of 
dreaming and reasoning without premises in facts has gone 
— gone at least for the time, and some of us think it must 

Philosophy, Psychology and Psychical Research, 377 

remain past. This aside, however, the fact is, that no philos- 
ophy in this age has any chance for survival which does not 
base itself on empirical facts. When it comes to the im- 
mortality of the soul we ask for evidence within the limits 
of scientific method or we surrender it and teach Stoicism 
as a refuge from the accusation of cowardice. But for 
positive belief, if we insist on having any interest in the 
problem at all, we must go to empirical facts. It is that 
method for which psychic research stands and it will simply 
turn any other hope out of doors. 

Nearly twenty-five years of collecting experiences in va- 
rious types of supernormal phenomena, if they do not justify 
the claims of proof for a future life, certainly make it a plau- 
sible hope and it remains for those who claim any intelli- 
gence and human interest to see whether this plausible hope 
be an illusion or not. We are fast arriving where scepticism 
must be on the defensive. Scepticism has long been re- 
spectable without the use of any other than a priori methods. 
That is no longer its immunity. It will now have to give 
an account of itself by the patient study of facts or slink 
away into disrepute. 

This briefly explains the situation to-day, and it is the 
excuse for asking an interest in the solution which certain 
facts promise to give to the larger hope, as I think Tennyson 
called it. We are not ashamed to discuss Plato and Soc- 
rates in this matter, and why not the issue itself. Are we to 
be forever playing about historical conceptions and have no 
truth of our own to hold? Must we evade the primary issues 
which even the most ethical types of the Greek would not 
evade? I. think not. At least the task should be as re- 
spectable to-day as then, and if it is not so, it is because 
philosophy has grown too aristocratic in a democratic civili- 
zation to accept its responsibilities. 

The actual work which this organized investigation in the 
English Society has accompished, and which it set out to 
accomplish, is the collection of a mass of facts, real or alleged, 
just as you wish to interpret it, bearing on the issue which 
I have defined. Previously the alleged phenomena were 
ignored and received no recognition within the ranks of 

378 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

orthodox science, and naturally enough obtained the repu- 
tation of having no importance. The case was precisely 
like that of meteors. These astronomic phenomena were 
ridiculed by scientific men precisely as they now ridicule 
apparitions and telepathic claims. It was the same with 
travelling balls of electricity and hypnotism. In all of them 
it was the untutored mind that made the discovery and the 
scientific man opposed and ridiculed it until the facts forced 
him to surrender. The analogy between the phenomena 
which proved the existence of meteors and those which at 
least apparently prove a transcendental spiritual world is 
very close in the fundamental characteristics which illustrate 
both their strength and their weakness. These are their 
sporadic nature. It required the collective force of many 
scattered incidents to prove scientifically the existence of 
meteors, and it requires the collective mass of supernormal 
phenomena to give scientific weight to the claims of a spir- 
itual world which so rarely intromits its influence into the 
material world at points that can have evidential importance. 
Now every one who understands scientific method must 
admit the right of scepticism when he deals with some iso- 
lated apparition or mental coincidence which may claim to 
represent supernormal events. Measured against the total 
mass of knowledge which bears no indication of such extra- 
ordinary claims, it is natural and justifiable to resist the spec- 
ulative claims of the spiritualist, even tho the isolated fact 
is extraordinary enough to excite interest. But it is not 
so easy to justify the same kind of treatment for a large col- 
lective mass of similar facts occurring under conditions that 
seem to exclude chance from their explanation. Unfortu- 
nately the scientific dogmatist has been able, if not to ex- 
plain away, to diminish the evidential value of sporadic in- 
stances of apparitions, mental coincidences, and mediumistic 
phenomena, and, finding that he might resist individual in- 
stances as indications of very large theories he has neglected 
the collective weight of many facts not so easily attributed 
to illusion, hallucination, or chance coincidence. It is this 
latter circumstance that makes out the whole case of the 
xhic researcher, and it will not do for the Philistine to 

Philosophy, Psychology and Psychical Research. 379 

imagine that, because he has weakened the evidential im- 
portance of an incident, he has explained it. In the end he 
has the collective whole to explain, and this has characteris- 
tics not readily explicable by the means discrediting the indi- 
vidual instance. 

Now the Society has collected a vast mass of incidents 
representing apparitions, telepathy, clairvoyance, and pre- 
monition, all of these terms being mere names for certain 
facts, real or alleged, and the collection is impressive enough 
to suggest some extraordinary explanation. The work of 
Mr. Myers on Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily 
Death may be regarded as a summary of all the most reliable 
facts of experience which the Society has been able to ob- 
tain and more or less to authenticate. It is time to give them 
some meaning in the scheme of human experience. The 
fact that they are outside the normal or most common expe- 
rience of men is no reason for ignoring them. They are no 
more outside it than were meteors outside the narrow theo- 
ries of the astronomers. The fact that they find a place 
in that experience at all entitles them to articulation with 
the explanation which will reach them. They certainly sug- 
gest conclusions which widen our knowledge of the cosmos 
without conflicting with any but a narrowly dogmatic view 
of it. That wider view also is no more revolutionary in the 
field of psychology than are Roentgen rays, Hertzian waves, 
and radio-active substances in the field of physics. The re- 
sults then summarize themselves in the possibility of the con« 
tinuity of consciousness or human personality, with perhaps 
a number of adjunct capacities of mind which are not yet 
understood and whose meaning places them on the border- 
line of the two states of existence. This result may not 
revolutionize philosophy, but it will give that kind of assur- 
ance, if sufficiently proved, which enables the practical man 
and moralist to reconstruct his method of renovating the 
world in its ethical work. I cannot dwell upon this view 
of the matter, but I indicate it as the one important outcome 
which philosophy has generally tried to support until recent 
times, in order to elevate the spiritual ideals of the race. 
The substitution of scientific for philosophic method has de- 

380 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

prived philosophic arguments on all questions of their for- 
mer cogency and it remains for science to vindicate the ideals 
which philosophy held with faith. If we are going to con- 
trol the vast multitude in a democracy we must be able to 
prove the value of personality, and that value will be en- 
hanced in proportion to the place it occupies in the scheme 
of the cosmos. If it assigns it only an ephemeral impor- 
tance we may expect man to look at the matter in this way 
as long as he is ethically influenced by cosmic considerations 
in the adoption of his ideals. If he finds that nature respects 
consciousness and the spiritual life by giving them perma- 
nence, as it does to matter and force, we may expect to have 
mental and moral influence of the most important type to 
direct and cheer conduct. But without these we shall have 
just the materialistic struggle for lower satisfactions which 
alarms so many earnest thinkers in our present social and 
political problems. 

Now I recognize that the full claims of the psychical re- 
searchers have not been substantiated to the extent of mak- 
ing a large number of converts to them among men of the 
type of Huxley and Darw^in, and I do not care to apologize 
for this in any way. But I would assert with much confi- 
dence that the phenomena are frequent enough and suffi- 
ciently authenticated to make it imperative that the philos 
opher and the psychologist should direct the investigation 
instead of following in the wake of it. We have a large task- 
before us. The phenomena are exceedingly sporadic, and 
those that we can accredit with evidential importance are 
still more infrequent. We may have to collect for a cen- 
tury before we have done more than prepare the way for the 
right sort of experimentation and observation. We muft 
not let the rush of modern life push us into hasty conclusion? 
or to divert our interest from the phenomena because we do 
not discover the full meaning of the cosmos in one day or 
through one instance of suggestive fa'cts. We have to ex- 
ercise great patience and perseverance, and be content for a 
long time in merely collecting facts, or allegations of facts, 
waiting for the discovery of those characteristics in a col- 
lective whole which we cannot trust in the individual inci- 

Philosophy, Psychology and Psychical Research. 381 

dent The organization of the American Society for Psychi- 
cal Research and the incorporation of the American Institute 
for Scientific Research, dl which the Society is merely a 
Section, has been made to give better opportunities for the 
prosecution of this work and to articulate the study of the 
real or alleged supernormal with both normal and abnormal 
psychology. If all who have any appreciation of the func- 
tions of psychology and philosophy in the community will 
just sympathize and assist in various ways with this work 
they will not repent their interest or courage. We shall 
have to face an age and a press which knows only to make 
fun and indulge in ridicule of all serious things. Even the 
ministry finds it hard to be serious any longer. The infec- 
tion of amusement in every field of activity and of contempt 
and ridicule has spread so that those who see the importance 
of this work must be able to abide their time, and as long 
as facts are on their side he will laugh best who laughs last. 

The primary matter for us, however, is the recognition of 
a problem which is not without an unusual interest for the 
metaphysician, less perhaps for its solution than for its bear- 
ing and implications in connection with the larger signifi- 
cance of things. Next to this is the clear conception of the 
fact that it wall require a long time and great patience to 
solve it. The connection between a spiritual and the ma- 
terial world, assuming that the former exists, is not so con- 
stant or so easy that we can make it either intelligible or 
assured by any superficial inquiry. It took physical science 
long to lay the foundations for its recent achievements, and 
it will take psychic research long to do even its preliminary 
work, and we have to obtain both means and method for con- 
ducting its investigations on a scale commensurate with the 
nature of the problem and with the difficulties which it must 

Philosophy has had to live in the " dim religious light '" 
of faith for the last century and to contend w^ith science for 
its existence, but the facts which have been pouring into 
recognition from psychic research may enable it to appro- 
priate the calcium light of science for conclusions which 
science has not been willing to admit. That affords an op- 

382 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

portunity which cannot well be neglected. Tho much re- 
mains to be done and will require united efforts to attain, 
yet enough has been done to set physicists to thinking, paus- 
ing even before the facts in their own field which have shaken 
the old materialism and opened the way for a priori possi- 
bilities which psychic research may prove empirically to be 
facts. But in the fulfillment of that task the philosopher will 
have to act as a restraint on many popular passions and fol- 
lies. If he had kept in touch with the real problems of com- 
mon life he could the more easily have led the masses which 
are now driving him into the battle. Sir Oliver Lodge, a 
physicist, is in the front, and tho he does not approach the 
problem with the same equipment as does the metaphysician, 
the prevailing habit of giving confidence to physical science 
in its conquests, while it has ridiculed philosophy and theol- 
ogy alike, will give the philosopher a disadvantage if he does 
not assume his own rights, and hence I here plead the obli- 
gation of philosophy and psychology to see that they govern 
where they have hitherto only been following. I simply 
reiterate, therefore, in conclusion, the presence of sufficient 
authenticated material to render probable the existence of a 
wider horizon for human personality — a horizon which will 
enable the moralist and the political ruler alike to deal with 
the practical problems of life in a way which no materialist 
can do. 

By Dr. J. F. Babcock. 

The following paper is by a gentleman with whom I am 
personally acquainted. He is a dentist by profession, tho 
retired. The summary here printed is a brief report from the 
detailed record which is in our possession, and we hope some 
day to print it in the Proceedings. It will not appear eviden- 
tial to those who demand proof of the supernormal, and it 
ia not published here as evidence of any theory whatever. 

A Remarkable Mediumistic Experience. 383 

The importance of the paper consists mainly in its illustrative 
character of phenomena having great psychological value, 
and if the future should show that these and similar phenom- 
ena belong to the class with which they claim to belong the 
interest in them will not be less for that reason, tho at present 
they may have no other interest than illustration of import- 
ant psychological phenomena. They are at least illustrative 
of dramatic impersonation which do not represent the normal 
action of the author's consciousness. 

The author some twenty years before these phenomena 
occurred had been a student of spiritualistic claims, and had 
exposed a number of frauds, tho he also witnessed enough 
of what seemed to him to be genuine to think favorably of a 
spiritistic hypothesis. He appreciates the scepticism which 
naturally interprets such instances as unconscious fabrica- 
tion, tho he is at a loss to believe this even in phenomena like 
these that lack the primary credentials for a supernormal 
source. Witnesses of the gentleman's veracity and intelli- 
gence have been sufficient, and I think the paper will supply 
internal evidence of sufficient intelligence to make any out- 
side inquiries on that point superfluous. The primary prob- 
lem is his veracity, and my acquaintance with him and ob- 
servation of some of his automatic writing, as well as the 
testimony of others, put that beyond the usual rights of 
scepticism. I have every reason to believe that no one need 
question the gentleman's integrity and veracity, whatever in- 
terpretation may be given the alleged phenomena. I have 
found the gentleman perfectly open-minded in regard to his 
own phenomena, tho desiring to have some other explana- 
tion of them than secondary personality. 


The author published this account for private circulation 
and so concealed his identity. I retain that form here, tho 
he consents to the use of his real name. 

Ssrnopsis of a Remarkable Mediumistic Experience. 

In the year 1882 a young professional man, then thirty-six 
years of age, whom, for the purposes of this recital, we will 

384 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

designate by the name of Doctor Hunt, and who, previous to 
this year of 1882, had been a consistent opponent of every- 
thing Spiritualistic, was induced by a friend, in whose intelli- 
gence he had confidence, and under the pressure of unusual 
circumstances, to visit, by himself, and without previous ap- 
pointment, a so-ca'led medium : a farmer's wife of the highest 
reputation, and who made no public or professional preten- 
sions of any sort whatever. The doctor called upon this 
lady fully resolved that he would conduct himself ^nd his 
utterances in such a way as to neutralize any anticipated at- 
tempt at deception, but notwithstanding his precautions, bis 
skepticism and his reticence, the interview with this person- 
ally unknown medium was fraught with developments of 
such a nature as to supply him with material that challenged 
his most thoughtful consideration. 

Among many incidents of that visit he was informed by a 
purported spirit friend named Josie, and who, previous to her^ 
death, had been a cherished friend, that he was himself the 
possessor of mediumistic ability, and that, if he would take 
pencil and paper that night and place himself in a ppsition 
to write, she would come and control his hand. Skeptical ot 
any result, he did so and, after waiting for some time, he 
found in a faint way, much to his astonishment, that the 
*' Josie's '' assertion of the afternoon was, to some extent, a 
true one, since, while not conscious of contributing any vol- 
untary assistance, but extremely suspicious of it, his hand 
was moved to write more or less of a wholly unimportant 
character; but, as time progressed, the control grew gradu- 
ally stronger, and his hand was influenced to write free.y 
upon many varied topics — as freely as a conversation be- 
tween living friends might have been conducted. There 
were four of these asserted spirit controls, with all of whom 
Doctor Hunt had been upon intimate terms of friendship 
during their earthly existence, and their writing, in many in-j 
stances, was of a most serious and exhaustive test character; 
because of what was written, and the doctor finally had noi 
other recourse than to acknowledge and firmly believe in its 
spiritual origin, though, inconsistent as it was, he remainecl 
as skeptical as before in relation to all other spiritualistic 

A Remarkable Mediumistic Experience 385 

phenomena, save that involved in his own experience. 
Scarcely had this period arrived, however, when the writing 
abruptly ceased — cut short off, without the slightest prelim- 
inary warning of any sort or nature — and, for twenty-two 
years thereafter, not another spirit-inspired word could the 
doctor write, though, following the early period of this sud- 
den cessation of his ability to write, he tried many times to 
bring about its renewal, and less frequently as time passed 
on, but he never permitted a whole year to elapse without de- 
votinjg some brief portion of it to an attempt to regain his 
former ability, always, however, without the slightest re- 
sulting encouragement. Thus twenty-two years passed 
away, bringing Doctor Hunt, who had meantime retired from 
practice, to the age of fifty-nine. During this interval he had 
returned to his original skepticism — always barring his own 
former experience — and had avoided all intercourse with any 
and everything of a spiritualistic nature, content to let such 
matters take their own course, but cherishing his personal 
knowledge that the ability of a spirit, so called, to return to 
this life from beyond the grave, had been proven beyond all 
possibility of the least doubt in his own mind; that the ques- 
tion " If a man die shall he live again ? " had been most em- 
phatically answered in the affirmative, and with this knowl- 
edge he was willing to rest satisfied : a knowledge which he 
had never communicated to any, even at the time of the 
writing's activity, save some three or four personal friends of 
a liberal scope of mind. Such was the condition of affairs 
when, in the closing days of the year 1904, Doctor Hunt was 
prostrated upon a bed of sickness necessitating the care of a 
trained nurse. As the period of convalescence lay heavily on 
his hands, it occurred to him that it would be a good oppor- 
tunity to enter upon a patient and persistent effort to see if 
the former ability to write might be renewed, but for some 
time there were no results ; the hand remaining passive and 
quiescent, even under the most ardent desire, and it was the 
doctor's custom to spend an hour or more on each occasion 
with pencil in hand, resting on a pad of writing paper, when 
suddenly, upon one of these occasions, he became conscious 
of an unusual sensation in the pencil hand: a feeling of pres- 

386 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

sure and attempt at propulsion of the pencil, which soon after 
resulted in an actual, well defined effort at writing, though it 
was wholly illegible. 

At this time Doctor Hunt very much feared, so slow and 
uncertain was the movement, that his strong desire to re- 
acquire his former writing ability had involuntarily stimu- 
lated a personal attempt to succeed, though he was wholly 
unconscious that such was the case. However, no real cause 
existed for such skepticism, since a few more trials demon- 
strated beyond all question that his hand was again under 
control, even as it had been so many years previously, though 
its old perfection was much slower than formerly in matur- 
ing. During the course of the following several weeks prac- 
tice the control — which purported to be that of " Josie," one 
of the old 1882 quartette — had obtained a sufficient mastery 
over the doctor's hand to write freely upon any topic desired, 
but as time passed on many things were written so unlike the 
" Josie " of the olden time, that Doctor Hunt was compelled 
to become suspicious that some other than " Josie " had as- 
sumed her name and was endeavoring to deceive him, and 
such was the ultimate development, since it soon transpired, 
through their own admissions, that two so-called spirits, a 
man and a woman, both of a depraved worldly life and nature, 
had conspired to try and deceive the doctor in every possible 
manner that a wolf might accomplish in sheep's clothing. 
They clung to the use of " Josie's " name and identity, until 
a climax was imminent in Doctor Hunt's resolve to volun- 
tarily abandon the writing permanently, since it had come 
to consist of a series of the most cunningly devised, and 
shrewdly developed, deceptions conceivable to human en- 
deavor, to say nothing of their future life origin. In the 
earlier portion of the writing Doctor Hunt was almost awed 
at the fact alone of there being any writing at all, originated 
and controlled from such a source; and by the certainty of 
the fact that he possessed in himself the ability to communi- 
cate with the so-called dead. 

This knowledge so impressed him, at this early period of 
the writing, that he failed to consider so very much about 
-?hai was written, as that any writing existed at all, but, as 

A Remarkable Mediuntistic Experience. 387 

time passed, and the fact of the writing became an almost 
every day commonplace, that feeling of awe lessened, and he 
gave more attention to the extreme peculiarities of the sub- 
stance of what his hand was being controlled to write. He 
would propose tests of various kinds, which were readily ac- 
quiesced in by the control, but which would invariably prove 
fruitless of result. Other spirit controls would be introduced 
by name, some of whom had been known by Hunt in this 
life, while others were unknown, but who, upon request, gave 
addresses, for the doctor to write to, as proof of their sin- 
cerity, but, when written to, the letters of inquiry were al- 
ways returned stamped " Unknown," while those with whom 
the doctor had formerly been acquainted would write some- 
thing so unworthy of them as to excite his strongest suspicion 
as to their proper identity. 

Upon subseqently discussing these suspicions with the 
apparent " Josie " she would cunningly evade all discussion, 
or else tender some more or less plausible explanation. Doc- 
tor Hunt had for some time been coming to the conclusion 
that any spirit but that of " Josie " was the controller of 
his hand, and as a final test of sincerity — an ultimatum — ^pro- 
posed one of a decisive, but simple character, which was ac- 
cepted by the control, with the advance understanding that, 
should it fail. Hunt would at once abandon all further at- 
tempt at writing. It did fail, and was meant to fail at the 
time of its acceptance, having been agreed to by the con- 
trol, only as another opportunity of perpetrating an addi- 
tional deception, which the control, as subsequent events 
amply proved, malignantly delighted in, but this proposed 
test, and the certainty that the doctor meant to voluntarily 
terminate all further writing, served to expose the whole char- 
acter of the plot and conspiracy, (imagine such language as 
applicabte to such a source) as entered into by a man and a 
woman spirit, whose only, subsequently confessed, motive 
was " to have a little fun with you." Upon the failure of the 
test last referred to, the rtiale conspirator signed his name as 
" Edward J. Wantonness," thus meaning to convey the ob- 
vious impression that what had been written had been done 
through deliberate wantonness. Subsequently, however, he 

388 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

asserted that his name was " Emmons," that he was a pugi- 
list during life, and that he met death on the scaffold for a 
murder, committed in Kansas. The woman's name was 
given as Alice B. Wilson and who, as she afterwards con- 
fessed, had been doing the writing under the influence and 
control of " Emmons." During the conversation, i. e. writ- 
ing, which ensued after these developments, " Emmons " 
acted the blackguard in every respect possible, and was in- 
formed by Doctor Hunt that he was "no gentleman!" a 
self obvious statement, but which after events proved that 
" Emmons " took deadly umbrage at. The doctor was at 
once disposed to instantly abandon the writing forever, but, 
realizing the overwhelming importance of the vital fact of 
a spirit's ability to return and intelligently communicate at 
all — regardless of the character of the communication — ^and 
all which such a fact involved, and which had been unmis- 
takably verified as a fact time and time again, he hesitated to 
abruptly terminate the writing, and he finally decided that 
he would take some weeks to give the entire matter the 
careful consideration which was its due. At the end of three 
weeks, during which period he had made no endeavor to 
write further, Doctor Hunt had firmly decided to abandon 
the writing for good, since he could perceive no possible ad- 
vantage to be derived from its continuance under such wick- 
edly vicious controls, and upon the next attempt at writing, 
with " Alice " as the avowed control, he so informed her, 
and naturally supposed that such a decision would perma- 
nently end the whole affair, but she proceeded to express her 
great sorrow for all that had previously occurred; that she 
was sincerely repentant for the first time in her whole ca- 
reer, either worldly or spiritual ; that " Emmons " had taken 
himself away for good; and that, if the doctor caused the 
writing to cease at that stage of the proceedings; just at the 
time when she had resolved to try and lead a different life, 
because events connected with the writing had so deter- 
mined her, he would be " assuming a responsibility greater 
than he could possibly comprehend." Doctor Hunt believed 
that this was but a continuation of the former attempts at 
deception, and he informed her that he did not believe a 

A Remarkable Mediumistic Experience, 389 

word of what she had written, but that in deference to her 
pleading, he would give her just one more trial, and accept 
the consequences ; but it may as well be stated at this point, 
as later, that she fulfilled her every promise from that time 
on, giving ample evidence, as the writing progressed, that 
her professions of repentance and reform were sincere and 
genuine ones. At Doctor Hunt's request she undertook to 
write the history of her earth life, one of wickedness and 
suffering, without the slightest repentance at the time, only 
at the end to be shot by a jealous lover, in a New York 
saloon, though the wound was not necessarily a fatal one 
in itself. She was removed to Bellevue Hospital, but blood 
poisoning occurred, and there she died in the month of Au- 
gust, 1883, aged only twenty-two years. " When I awoke " 
— as she wrote — " the first thing that I became conscious of 
was the most magnificent singing that mortal ears ever list- 
ened to," and she then proceeds to tell of her entrance into 
the new life, and of the " spirit guide " who met her to con- 
duct her to her future place of abode; of the scenes which 
she saw, and of her guide parting from her in a locality 
which she describes as " excelling in majestic beauty the 
most imaginative that the human mind can conceive." All 
of which was greatly to her astonishment. " Since my 
worldly life had been of so vile a character that I had fully 
expected to incur the punishment which the Bible and the 
preachers had led me to believe was my due," but she pro- 
ceeds to say, her wild life on earth had so formed and per- 
meated her nature that she found herself unhappy amid such 
unexpectedly beautiful surroundings, and left them " to seek 
an environment more in keeping with my worldly nature." 
She found it, but it " was too much like an actual Hell to 
suit even me," and she wandered on elsewhere. 

Her narrative is most interesting and of considerable 
length, but during the writing of it that " Cutthroat Em- 
mons," as she termed him, who is " as cruel as human suf- 
fering," as she at another time described him, would at fre- 
quent intervals, and without any preliminary warning, or 
stopping of the writing, take possession — as it were — of the 
pencil, and cunningly continue her narrative in a manner 

390 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

te suit himself. In all such instances " Emmons " would, 
ere long, discover himself to Doctor Hunt, through the glar- 
ing incongruity of what he wrote, and the doctor would, in 
such cases, many times throw the pencil down in disgust 
and discouragement, despairing at even obtaining anything, 
through the writing, of a sufficiently compensatory charac- 
ter to justify its continuance. These incursions of interfer- 
ence by *' Emmons," interspersed at times by the vilest and 
most brutal personal abuse of the doctor, became so unbear- 
able and intolerable that he would, upon several occasions, 
have terminated the writing then and there, and was firmly 
determined upon doing so, but he was deterred from -instant 
action by a desire to secure an opportunity of saying fare- 
well to " Alice," something which he regarded as being justly 
her due, as she had conducted herself in a strictly conscien- 
tious and thoroughly honorable manner, ever since the period 
of her early promise and had always expressed herself as be- 
ing as much chagrined and hurt as the doctor himself, by 
the utterly malignant course pursued by " Emmons," whom 
she claimed dominated her in our physical sense, since he 
would unexpectedly appear to her at such times of his in- 
terferences, and compel her to abdicate her own control 
and take possession himself. Although Doctor Hunt would 
be strong in his resolution to quit the writing permanently, 
when once he had secured the chance to say good-bye to 
" Alice," yet when it came, her almost pitiful pleadings to 
continue for her sake, and her sanguine assurances that " Em- 
mons " would not again return, would cause his resolution to 
waver and he would consent to try " just once more." 

At other times his resolution to abandon the writing 
would be vacated by the appearance of " Emmons " in the 
form of an apologist, with an expression of his sorrow for 
what he liar) said and done previously, and all because, as he 
averred, the doctor had at one time informed him that he 
'no gentleman," and he would tender his promises to 
"in Interfere. He made several of these apologies 
ses, and after them, for a time, the writing, with 
le control, would proceed smoothly, when just as 
i began to entertain a hope that " Emmons " had 

A Remarkable Mediumistic Experience, 391 

at last kept his word, he would re-appear as milicious and vir- 
ulent as ever before, but patience finally ceased, with Hunt, to 
possess any virtue, and he made another attempt to have a 
final parting with Alice, which attempt, at her suggestion, 
resolved itself into a compromise that for three months there 
should be no further endeavor to write a single word, except 
that once each twenty-four hours Alice was to come and sim- 
ply write her signature in such a mutually agreed upon man- 
ner that its peculiarity would be known to herself and the 
doctor, alone. This arrangement was made in order to 
frustrate any attempt which " Emmons " might make to act 
in her name, through an imitation of her ordinary signature. 
During this period of three months this plan was carefully 
observed, and although " Emmons " made several attempts 
to substitute himself, they were invariably exposed through 
his inability to write the signature of Alice in any but her 
usual style. This however, he was unaware of, but upon one 
occasion, near the close of the three months period, he was 
permitted to take the control, through curiosity, long enough 
to write " My animosity is satisfied. I wish the writing the 
best of luck, and that you may become a good medium. I 
shall never trouble you again," to which Doctor Hunt made 
a suitable audible reply, and the matter rested there. At the 
termination of the three months comproriiise, upon October 
1st, 1905, the writing was riesumed in a hopeful way. though 
the doctor's confidence in the promise of " Emmons " was of 
the weakest kind. For the first time there appeared to be an 
opportunity to secure some compensatory information 
through the presentation of questions, for answer, which 
Doctor Hunt had long before carefully prepared in writing, 
but which, because of the " Emmons " interferences, there 
had been no opportunity to present. Alice, upon being in- 
formed of the doctor's desire, willingly consented to reply to 
all the questions which might be offered to the " utmost of 
my ability," and the same are now in process of being pre- 
sented and replied to by Alice, whose answers are of the in- 
tensest interest. " Emmons " has remained quiescent, save 
upon one occasion, when there was good reason for suspect- 
ing him of a design to interfere, and upon two other occasions 

392 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

when he prevented Alice from getting control at all, though 
he made no attempt to substitute himself. However, in an- 
ticipation of such an event occurring, Doctor Hunt has gone 
through the form of a " good bye " with Alice, having ex- 
plained to her his inflexible resolution to abandon, for good, 
all further attempt to continue the writing upon the very 
next effort by " Emmons " to interfere, a position which she 
most regretfully endorses, but with the assertion that "* Em- 
mons,' when he realizes that you are fully determined to 
terminate the writing, if he interferes again, will never do so, 
as he has said himself that * this writing must go on,' and he 
will not take the step that will cause its cessation." It is to 
be hoped that such will prove to be the result, indeed, but 
judging by all past experience, little confidence can be placed 
in an " Emmons " promise, and should he re-appear in any 
sort of an attempt at an interference with the free and un- 
trameled pursuit of the writing between Alice and himself, 
the doctor will at once abandon all further effort to continue 
the writing. He will tolerate in himself no further procras- 
tination or evasion, and is, for the first time, in a position be- 
yond the effect of restraining mental influences, having ar- 
ranged his farewell with Alice, to instantly terminate the 
writing for good should the necessity again present itself. 
Its abandonment will involve a bitter disappointment to Doc- 
tor Hunt, but the continued maintenance of his own self- 
respect demands that he shall inflexibly adhere to the resolu- 
tion he has formed, but in the event of his being called upon 
to carry his resolution into effect through the return of this 
malignant spirit degenerate, where can the language be found 
expressive enough, comprehensive enough, bitter enough, to 
use in denunciation of this " Emmons," whose only design 
has been to render futile this wondrous gift of direct communi- 
cation betiveen the living and the so-called dead. Because of Doc- 
tor Hunt's extreme reluctance to encounter the obloquy and 
villification of the chronic skeptic — and even the clergy stand 
aghast at the temerity of any attempt to prot^e the truth of 
their own teachings and their own pulpit theories — he has 
thus far refrained from confiding his truly remarkable expe- 
rience to any living person, save one, and that one a lady 

A Remarkable Mediumistic Experience 393 

friend. Such reticence surely precludes all evidence of any 
marked desire to render himself conspicuous, but he has 
forced himself to the conclusion that an issue of such tre- 
mendous human interest is not one which he can properly 
regard as a personal one, that the problem, " If a man die 
• shall he live again ? " a problem of all the world for countless 
ages ; of many a mother weeping for her first born ; of many 
a heart-broken father, mother, sister or brother, mourning 
for their loved ones gone before ; and of many a coward loth 
to die, solved in the aMrmative, is not solved for him alone, and 
its solution to be retained concealed in the recesses of his 
own brain. Hence this printed synopsis has been prepared — 
in lieu of a written letter — with the view of judiciously using 
it as an introductory means of securing the attention of one 
or more men of science, whose interest in matters of a psy- 
chical nature may induce them to wish to read and study the 
original MSS. or record of the happenings herein alluded to, 
and of which this recital, though somewhat extended, is but 
a brief " synopsis." 

" Truth is mighty and must prevail," but Doctor Hunt 
asks in all sincerity. How? and yet it is as true as God reigns; 
as true as that the sun rises and sets; as true as that our 
earth revolves ; that Doctor Hunt's hand has been controlled 
by some unseen power, to write upon a great variety of 
topics with which he was himself personally absolutely un- 
familiar. This unseen power calls itself a Spirit of the Dead, 
and who, after searching investigation, shall say that it lies, 
or is mistaken? 

And again Doctor Hunt asks. How can this astounding 
knowledge which he possesses; how can the absolute truth, 
mighty as it is, which has been revealed to him, be trans- 
ferred to the comprehension of another? How? 

[In a letter dated May 17th, 1907, Dr. Babcock writes the 
following, which may be regarded as an appendix to what 
has been published above. — Editor.] 

" Because of the malicious action of the spirit " Emmons " 
in connection with the death of " Wade Fogg " — as the man- 
uscript shows in full — I voluntarily abandoned all further 

394 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 

effort upon or about March 13th, 1906. I did not again 
make any attempt until January 3rd, 1907 — ^when I hoped to 
obtain the control of " Alice " with " Emmons '' eliminated. 
" Alice ". ostensibly responded, but after enduring a most 
aggravating series of nightly obstructions to my effort to 
prove that the control was *' Alice " — such as weak control 
broken promises-^-constant postponements — and in fact all 
kinds of annoyances that could be devised with a plausible 
explanation, that would partly satisfy me and serve to keep 
me trying — altho always suspicious of the control — it finally 
developed that " Emmons " had got in his work again — ^that 
he had alone engineered the thing from the beginning, as he 
openly acknowledged it when his deceit was no longer pos- 
sible, and again when he overwhelmed me with abuse and 
vileness. Of course I again abandoned it all (upon Jan. 31st, 
1907) and so it has ended." 


The Catholic Churth and Psychic Research. 

The, newspapers recently reported certain statements 
about the lecture of Mr. J. Godfrey Raupert which it is de- 
sirable to have set right. The following is an authentic ac- 
count of what Mr. Raupert did say, sent to me by Mr. Rau- 
pert himself. It is also important to say that we are per- 
sonally acquainted with Mr. Raupert and know his personal 
views on the matters concerned. It is not necessary to go 
into details of what the papers said in misrepresentation of 
Mr. Raupert's statements and views, except in one instance. 
The New York Timfs went to the trouble to seek information 
from Rome and reported by cable a denial of Mr. Raupert's 
claim that he had the authority of the Pope. It was notice- 
able, however, that the Times denied nothing except that he 
had the authority to discuss "spirit photographs." This 

Editorial, 395 

constructive limitation, without admitting what he did have 
authority to do, was calculated to leave the impression on the 
public that Mr. Raupert had no such authority to discuss 
any aspect of the question. The present ^atement of the 
matter was published in the Catholic News of May 25th, 1907, 
and was indorsed by Mr. Raupert in a letter to me stating 
that it contains " all the facts of the case." I may also say 
that two other high authorities in the Catholic Church have, 
in personal letters to me, confirmed Mr. Raupert's state- 

The importance of this lies entirely in what it signifies 
regarding the interest of those who are in a position to in- 
fluence a large number of the human race. AH of us know* 
how slowly and conservatively the Catholic Church acts on 
all scientific questions, whether rightly or wrongly I am not 
implying in this statement, but only that the mere force of 
papal example in this matter will exercise a wide influence in 
demanding scientific attention to a subject which so many 
scientific men have ridiculed. 

Mr. Raupert's Lecture Misrepresented. 

" It is hardly necessary to state that the reports contained 
in the daily papers, respecting Mr. J. Godfrey Raupert and 
his lectures are, for the most part, gross mispresentations. 
Mr. Raupert, while a member of the Anglican Church, came 
in touch with psychical phenomena a good many years ago, 
when unique and exceptional opportunities of studying the 
subject presented themselves to him. As a result of these 
long continued studies, he came to conclusions which have 
since been confirmed by high scientific authorities in all 
parts of the world. What these conclusions are has been 
very explicitly set forth in his well known work, * Modern 
Spiritism, a Critical Examination of Its Phenomena, Charac- 
ter and Teaching in the Light of the Known Facts.' 

"The best informed among psychical researchers have, 
as is well known, given it as their convictions — arrived at 
after many years of painstaking investigation — that the much 
disputed phenomena are in many instances objective in char- 
acter and are governed by extraneous intelligences. Among 

3% Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

these researchers are men possessing an European reputa- 
tion, such as Sir William Crookes, Profs. Alfred Russell Wal- 
lace, Sir Oliver Lodge, Prof. Barrett, etc. Quite recently 
Profs. Richet, ot Paris, and Lombroso, of Italy, have joined 
their ranks. Some of these scientists have accepted the spir- 
itistic theory in the narrower sense, that is, that the com- 
municating intelligences are really the spirits of the dead, 
and that they are making the communications received the 
basis of a new system of Christian thought and philosophy. 

" Mr. Raupert's studies have led him to the conclusion 
that this latter position is built up on a one-sided aspect of 
the matter, and that it cannot be maintained when all the 
lacs at present known to us are taken into consideration. He 
is convinced, not only on the ground of his own observations, 
but on that of valuable documentary evidence, which, in the 
course of years has come into his possession, that a grave 
moral and physical danger lurks behind these psychical phe- 

" In view of the rapid growth of spiritistic practices and 
doctrines, Mr. Raupert was invited some years ago by the 
late Cardinal Vaughan to lay his facts and views before the 
clergy of the Archdiocese of Westminster and the students 
of the ecclesiastical seminaries, so that they might be put in 
possession of that full and accurate knowledge of the subject 
which circumstances demanded. Mr. Raupert delivered lec- 
tures at different centres of theological education in England. 

" When in Rome last year in connection with a chari- 
table work in which he is deeply interested, Mr. Raupert 
happened to have a private audience with the Holy Father 
the day on which he was announced to deliver a lecture 
to the students of the English College. The Holy Father 
hearing about this, and a projected visit to the English speak- 
ing world being decided upon, he pointed out to him the 
opportunities thus offered of communicating the results of 
his researches to the Catholic clergy and student* in the 
various countries to be visited, also urging the translation 
of his books into other languages. 

" After lecturing in Australia, Mr. Raupert was invited, 
on his arrival in New York, to visit the diocesan seminary 

Book Review. 397 

and to tell the students all he knew of the subject and the 
present state of the controversy concerning it. He was also 
invited to deliver a lecture in New York to a mixed audi- 
ence, composed, as he was told, of members of a private 
Catholic association. There was clearly, in the case of such 
a private gathering, no call for the presence of reporters and 
they were not admitted. Accounts, however, of what was 
supposed to have been said at this lecture, found their way 
into the daily papers, resulting in gross misrepresentation 
and in totally false impressions being left on the public mind. 
" Catholic readers, however, should form no misconcep- 
tions on this subject. Mr. Raupert's views are too well 
known, both from his public writings, and from his lectures, 
to leave any doubt in any mind as to his attitude in the mat- 
ter. It is hoped on a future occasion the substance of the 
lectures which he has delivered, may be given, from which 
It will be seen that his conclusions are quite in keeping with 
the uniform teachings of the Catholic Church, which, while 
admitting the reality of spiritistic phenomena, forbids her 
members to take any part in their production." 


The Psychic Riddle. By Isaac K, Funk, D. D., UU D., &c. 
Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1907. 

In this little book, Dr. Funk has gathered together a number 
of psychic experiences of all kinds, combined in the oddest of 
fashions, and interspersed with religious and other ideas of the 
author. I do not mean by this to insinuate that Dr. Funk's book 
is anything but a vefy useful contribution to the subject : and it 
should be of much use in one way and another by soliciting the 
public's interest in the problem ; by inviting them to join the A. 
S. P. R., by calling the attention of the press to the importance 
of the subject — in these ways the book is to be commended, and 
it may be said that parts of the book are fascinating reading. 
The chief drawback to the book is its lack of stability, or of 
sdidity, if I may so express it, — in that it reads more like magazine 

398 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

or newspaper material than the work of a scientific man and seri- 
ous investigator. Still, that might be an advantage, after all, 
when the wider public is to be reached, since they do not seem to 
pay the attention to the more serious and heavier books which 
their scientific character would seem to demand and warrant. I 
turn, then, to a resume of the book's contents. 

The first two chapters of the book are devoted to general con- 
siderations and discussions of the evidence for the occurrence of 
psychic phenomena ; answers to objections, and a number of rea- 
sons given why the subject should be investigated by scientific 
men — which arguments are pretty well known to the readers of 
this Journal. The next chapter — " Communications purporting 
to come from Dr. Richard Hodgson " should also be well known 
to all those who have followed the three articles on communica- 
tions from Dr. Hodgson in the Journal — this chapter being de- 
voted largely to a study of the same class of phenomena, reprints 
from the Journal Reports, etc. By far the most important chap- 
ter in the book is that devoted to " The Phenomena Known as 
Independent Voices " — this being an account of a number of 
seances with Mrs. Emily S. French, of Rochester, N. Y. In this 
chapter Dr. Funk describes a number of seances in which a loud, 
masculine voice spoke — ^apparently coming out of the air — when 
it would have been practically impossible, he asserts, for the 
medium to have produced the voice by any fraudulent means. 
The reports of these seances certainly make strange reading ; yet, 
tho great care seems to have been exercised, they do not, for 
some reason, seem to carry conviction to the reader. Various 
possibilities seem to suggest themselves,— of such a nature as to 
render fraud at least conceivable. Thus, the author puts too 
much stress on the moral qualities of the medium, and too little 
upon the actual " tests " employed. Hence he slights the phy- 
sical possibilities of the case — and it is only the physical possibilities 
we must take into account when considering the seances of pro- 
fessional mediums. 

More convincing, to my mind, is the case of Mrs. Blake, re- 
ported by Dr. Funk, with statements and reports by Dr. Hyslop 
and Mr. David P. Abbott — whose critical attitude should be ap- 
parent to all those who have followed his excellent articles on 
slate-writing, which have been running through several issues of 
the Journal. The phenomena reported deserve the attention of 
all students of psychic problems. 

The next chapter contains some accounts of clairvoyant, tel- 
epathic, and spiritistic phenomena of a miscellaneous character, 
including one very good and well recorded account of a reciprocal 
character, in which a physician, after falling into a state closely 
allied to trance, appears to a friend at a great distance, being seen 
and recognized by him, — at the same time that he himself saw 

Book Review. 399 

his friend in his natural surroundings, and what he was doing. 
The two men's letters, stating their respective experiences, 
crossed in the mails. 

The last chapter deals with " Some things that seem proven 
and some things that seem not proven," and contains a very in- 
structive account of Dr. Funk's experience in attempting to 
identify a " spirit," which alternately affirmed and denied it had 
communicated through certain mediums, on certain occasions, 
and gave other contradictory evidence of an amusing nature. 
Dr. J. M. Peebles also reported (Appendix B.) a case coming 
under his own observation of very like nature. Other Appen- 
dices give resumes of Dr. Hyslop's recent experiments; Prof. 
Lombroro's conversion to spiritism, and a letter of Camille 
Flammarion, stating his continued belief in the supernormal. 



There has recently been founded in England an " Inter- 
national Club for Psychical Research," the object of which is to 
consolidate the efforts of various workers in psychical research 
throughout the civilized world, and to study the " psychical, 
spiritistic and spiritual interests of society." It is proposed that 
lectures be given regularly, and a bulletin of the proceedings 
published, also regularly. Up to the end of this year, the fees 
are to be five dollars entrance fee, and five dollars per annum ; 
after this year, ten dollars per annum. Details of the Club can 
be obtained by all desirous of joining, by writing to the Editor: 
The Annals of Psychical Science, no St. Martin's Lane, London, 
W. C, England. 

Most assuredly, we wish our co-workers every success in 
their undertaking, and can only hope that their enterprise may 
prove all and more than its founders hope. Much will depend 
upon the spirit in which the investigations are carried on ; since 
support from eminent men can hardly be expected if a dignified 
and cautious attitude be not maintained. We shall look for their 
publications and the results of their work with keen interest. 

H. C. 

400 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 


The following is the Treasurer's Report for the quarter be- 
ginning March 4th and ending June 4th : 


Grant from the American Institute $3,000.00 


Publications $1,018.84 

Investigations 510.70 

Salaries 650.00 

Typewriting machines (2) 130.00 

Stamps 1 14.70 

Printing 19-25 

Letter Files and Indexes i7-30 

Sundries 53-68 

Total $2,514.47 

The grants made to the Secretary of the Society amount to 
$5,800, and only $5,400 of this sum have been drawn out. The 
total expenses for the three quarters from September last have 
been $5,789.77, the difference between this and the amount 
drawn out of the bank being the Secretary's own contribution to 
the expenses. 

The following shows the comparison between Receipts from 
membership and sales of publications, and Expenses : 

Receipts from membership fees $1,290.00 

Receipts from sale of publications 46.20 

Total $1,336.20 

Total expenses $2,514.47 

Expenses over receipts $1,178.27 

These facts show clearly the need of a largely increased mem- 
bership or an endowment. The work has already reached a 
point where it would require $20,000 a year to provide for it. 
No attention can be paid to the investigations necessary until the 
funds have been obtained. 

Secretary and Treasurer. 

Additional Members. 401 



DuflF, Mrs. Grace Shaw, 87 Riverside Drive, New York City. 
Francis, Mrs. H. H., 188 Church Street, Middletown, Conn. 
Osier, Dr. William, Oxford, England. (Honorary Fellow.) 


Archives dc Psychologic, The University of Geneva, Geneva, 

Boyd, Peter, North American Building, Room 13 19, Philadel- 
phia, Pa. 

Browne, W. H., 21 Strong Place, Brooklyn, N. Y. 

Colby, Howard A., 7 Wall Street, New York City. (Life Mem- 

Collier, W. A., Jr., c|o Barron Collier, Flat Iron Building, New 

Cosby, Major Spencer, War Department, Washington, D. C. 

Currien, Dr. A. F., 173 East Lincoln Ave., Mount Vernon, N. Y. 

Dodge, Ernest G., 448 Fifth Street, Brooklyn, N. Y. 

Green, Mrs. W. F., 25 First Ave., Mount Vernon, N. Y. 

Gildersleeve, W. M., Central Valley, N. Y. 

Harris, Robert L., 10 East io8th Street, New York City. 

Hatch, Wm. M., Union City, Mich. 

Holman, E. Elizabeth, 1028 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, Pa. 

McDonald, Dr. Ellece, ii>4 West 86th Street, New York. 

McLean, Mrs. C, 19 Rich Ave., Mount Vernon, N. Y. 

Patterson, J. R., Peerless Portland Cement Co., Union City, Mich. 

Perkins, George W., 1 10 South loth Ave., Mount Vernon, N. Y. 

Wall, Stephen A., 232 Market Street, Paterson, N. J. 

White, Charles H., Center Sandwich, N. H. 

White, J. A., 257 Lincoln Ave., Youngstown, Ohio. 

Williams, Major C. C, Bethlehem Steel Co., South Bethlehem, 


Andrews, Mrs. Velzora, Quincey, Mass. 

Benjamin, Mrs. Charles A., 14 Lynde Street, Salem, Mass. 

Bennett, Aubrey, 99 Water Street, New York City. 

Bull, Dr. Titus, 504 West 149th Street, New York City. 

Carpenter, Harriet E., 16 Kennard Road, Brookline, Mass. 

Davis, Jno. W., Clarksburg, W. Va. 

Hackley Public Library, Muskegon, Mich. 

402 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 

Hart, Charles E., 192 Clermont Ave., Brooklyn, N. Y. 

Hatfield, Mr. S. P., 838 Bedford Ave., Brookhrn, N. Y. 

Hughes, James T., Beauchamp Place, New Kochelle, N. Y. 

Hunt, Mrs. W. H., Hampshire Arms, Minneapolis, Minn. 

Lewis, David J., Cumberland, Md. 

Lundteigen, A., Union City, Mich. 

Newcomb, C. A., 625 Woodward Ave., Detroit, Mich. 

Perry, Edward Baxter, Camden, Maine. 

Pierson, Mrs. A. H., Natchitoches, La. 

Platen, Hugo B., 209 Best Street, West, Savannah, Ga. 

Ransom, Stephen, 237 West 131st Street, New York City. 

Reiber, Ferd., Butler, Pa. 

Rogers, Dr. Edmund J. A., 222 West Colfax Ave., Denver, Colo. 

Schuyler, M. Roosevelt, 99 Pearl Street, New York City. 

Shipley, Mrs. Marie E., 1337 Denison Ave., Columbus, Ohio. 

Sullivan, Harry C, Alpena, Mich. 

Williams, Mrs. Henry L., 60 Porter Terrace, Lowell, Mass. 

Total number of Fellows, Members and Associates (June, 

1907) 582 

Additional Members 49 

Total 631 

Vol I.— No. 9. ' September, 1907. 



American Society for Psychical Research 

GannAi. Akticlbs: pagb 

Soul and Body 403 

Spirit SUte-Writinff and BiUet Test - 414 

EDiToaZAL 438 


Incidents: pags 

Dream 432 

Olfactory Hallucination • - - 436 


By J. Arthur HiU. 

The unsolved problem of the relation of the soul to the 
body is a hardy perennial which bids fair to last as long as 
the related terms. In spite of the investigations of the best 
minds during some thousands of years, the problem is almost 
as far from solution as ever. The widest differences of opin- 
ion have existed, and continue still to exist : the ancient who 
compared the soul to a player performing with a lute (the 
body) is paralleled by many a modern religious thinker; 
while the Epicurean and Lucretian idea of the generation 
of the universe from a fortuitous concourse of atoms may be 
considered as finding its equivalent in the atheistic monism 
of Professor Ernst Haeckel. Still, though these parallel- 
isms exist to some extent, it can hardly be doubted that 
some advance has been made ; and this advance has been en- 
tirely due to the psychologists. It was only when metaphy- 
sicians began to turn their attention more particularly to the 
nature of knowledge and of the knowing faculty, that im- 
portant discoveries were made; and in this connection the 
names of Hume, Kant, Hamilton, and the two Mills, stand 
out in bold relief. We know now that " absolute " knowl- 
edge is impossible. We have learnt that we cannot jump 
out of our own skin. " What strength of sinew, or athletic 

406 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 

states of our nervous centres. This is a perversion of lan- 
guage ; sensations are states of consciousness, not states of mat- 
ter, (Mill's System of Logic Bk. i, Chap. Ill, par. 4.) If I 
have pain, the sensation or feeling of pain is a mental fact; 
and though it is doubtless accompanied or preceded by some 
change in my nervous centres, it is not identical with such 
change. The sensation is a mental fact. Later on (p. 65), 
we find Dr. Binet contradicting his assertion that sensation 
is a state of nervous centres, by saying " My personal opin- 
ion is that sensation is of a mixed nature. It is psychical in 
so far as it implies an act of consciousness, and physical 
otherwise.'' Again, what is my nervous system, and what 
are my nervous centres? I infer that I possess these things, 
from my knowledge of other human beings' nervous centres, 
which I have gained in dissecting them or in reading physi- 
ological or anatomical text-books. In any case, my knowl- 
edge of my nervous centres has been gained by inference 
from sensations. I have no direct sensations from those 
centres — t. e,, I cannot dissect, see, and handle my own brain 
— but I infer that they are possibilities of sensation. And it 
my nervous centres are no more than inferred possibilities of 
sensation, it is obviously absurd to say that sensations are 
states of those centres; for the proposition is equivalent to 
the ludicrous statement that my sensations are states of in- 
ferred possibilities of sensation. It is surprising that a psy- 
chologist of Dr. Binet's eminence should have allowed him- 
self — perhaps through hasty work — to be betrayed into such 
a serious confusion. 

Now as to the second part of the sentence. We are told 
that sensation has an exciting cause, which is unknown to 
us, and which we may call the X of matter. This seems to 
contradict former assertions, in which we were assured that 
all we know of external nature is our sensations. It appears 
now, that — in order, no doubt, to dodge the bogey of sub- 
jective idealism which Dr. Binet perceives to be heaving in 
sight — our knowledge of the outer world is not limited to our 
sensations, as we were assured was the case. It appears 
that we know the existence of a cause of those sensations — 
but, not knowing its nature, we call it X, Here we approach 

Saul and Body. 407 

perilously near to Spencer's Unknowable; in fact, Dr. Binet 
sometimes uses the term (p. 25) even with the orthodox 
capital U which has stuck in the throat of so many Spenceri- 
ans. And the Unknowable has been shown to be a self-con- 
tradictory term. Moreover, we cannot predicate Existence, 
pure and simple, of anything. An existential judgment is 
possible only when we have grounds for other judgments as 
well. If we know that something exists, we always know 
more of it than its mere existence. We know something 
about it — some of its qualities— or we should not be able to 
attribute existence to it. Is not then an unknown X, of 
which we know nothing except that it exists, as self-contra- 
dictory a term as the famous Unknowable itself ? Dr. Binet 
would have been wiser to define Matter as Permanent Pos- 
sibilities of Sensation (Mill's Examination of Sir William Ham- 
ilton's Philosophy, Chap. XI) and to fall back on intuitive belief 
(System of Logic, Book I, Chap. Ill, par. 7), instead of bring- 
ing in an unknown but existent X as cause of sensations. It 
would perhaps have been better still to refrain from account- 
ing for sensation at all. No doubt the fear of being driven 
into Berkeley's position (in which the cause of seiisation is 
God) was responsible for this other serious mistake. And, 
as a matter of fact. Dr. Binet appears to be aware of the 
weakness of the position. For, in discussing the difficulty 
of matter existing unperceived — which is the bugbear of the 
idealism which asserts that esse is percipi — he alleges that 
such existence is " a necessary postulate of science and prac- 
tical life." (p. 122.) This is an abandonment of the X 
whose existence is known; and it amounts to giving up the 
problem as insoluble, from the metaphysician's point of view. 
And if knowledge of this metaphysical something is impos- 
sible ; and if we are to fall back on the supposed necessities 
of practical life as justifying the postulate of its existence ; it 
is not very clear how Dr. Binet could logically object to 
Berkeley's postulate of God as being this X — for such a pos- 
tulate is extremely useful in practical life, and has much to 
recommend it. 

There is, however, much that is admirable in Dr. Binet's 
book. The arguments against Materialism are very telling, 

408 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

and are, indeed, quite fatal to that theory. If matter — the 
brain included — is nothing for us except sensation, it is ob- 
viously absurd to say that the brain produces thought ; for, 
translated into accurate language, this would be to say that 
certain sensations — or rather inferred — possible sensations — 
produced all other sensations. And the proposition that cer- 
tain possibilities of sensation produce all actual sensations, 
though it may be very true, is certainly not very explanatory 
or illuminating. And even if matter is something more than 
sensation — if there is an unknown X behind phenomena — 
materialism is still destroyed all the same, for the ultimate 
source of consciousness must be declared to be unknown; 
moreover, if there is a noumenon behind the phenomenal 
brain, that brain in a sense is not mortal, and the individual 
need not perish when the phenomenal brain dies. Thus, in 
any case, materialism as a doctrine asserting the necessary 
connection of mind and phenomenal brain, is clearly and in- 
dubitably false. 

The remaining doctrine to be examined is that of psycho- 
physical parallelism. To this theory Dr. Binet gives in his 
adhesion; though he admits that it is not without its diffi- 
culties, which, however, — in his opinion — are not absolutely 
fatal to it. Matter has been shown to be, for us, nothing but 
sensations, or states of mind. Mind, on the other hand, 
cannot be proved to consist of anything except " acts of con- 
sciousness ; " for, as Hume pointed out, we can never catch 
the mind devoid of content — it is always ideas that we per- 
ceive. Dr. Binet, not content with denying the existence of 
both matter and mind, even goes so far as to deny the exist- 
ence of the "subject," (p.264) which would seem to carrywith 
it the logical necessity of utter philosophical scepticism, with 
its outcome of complete pessimism. For if no subject exist, 
neither does any object ; and the whole pageantry of our ex- 
perience is the most baseless fabric of illusion — ^the unreal 
hallucination of a non-existent lunatic! But we will return 
to this later on; at present we are considering psycho-phy- 
sical parallelism. Matter and mind, it appears, are not real 
existences, yet there are undoubtedly facts which we call 
mental, and facts which we call material. It seems therefore 

Soul and Body. 409 

possible to treat these two classes of facts separately ; to con- 
sider mental and material phenomena as existing in two par- 
allel chains. Suppose someone treads on my toe; certain 
physical, and possibly chemical, changes occur in the nerves, 
and a current carries vibrations to the brain ; whence, in turn, 
there issues a back-wash of vibrations which, speeding along 
the motor nerves, result in the withdrawal of my toe from 
the locality of danger. These are physical or material facts. 
Concomitantly with them — or immediately subsequent to the 
first vibrations set up — I experience a feeling of pain. This 
is a mental fact. Why the two orders of fact occurred to- 
gether we do not know. We have no right to assume a 
Leibnitzian pre-established harmony, for that involves fur- 
ther difficulties; we simply do not know. This is the doc- 
trine of psycho-physical parallelism upheld by Bain in the 
book already mentioned, and, faute de mieux, seems to be the 
theory to which Dr. Binet inclines. But, as he himself 
shows, it contains the gravest difficulties — difficulties which 
seem to render it absolutely unsatisfactory as a philosophic 
answer to the question at issue. 

For, when we consider this parallelism, we find that the 
parallel chains are not really distinguishable. They do not 
exist apart from each other, any more than did Mind and 
Matter, the reality of which Dr. Binet denies with such re- 
markable sang froid. The facts which I call material, when 
nerve-vibrations are set up in my crushed toe, are not really 
material, but mental. They are inferred from what I know 
of matter, which — as we have seen — is nothing for us but 
sensation, which is a mental state. The foot of the man who 
has stamped on my toe, though I call it physical fact, is not 
really provable to be anything more than a mental fact ; it 
consists of sensations in my mind. The foot of the man in 
question, the physical changes in my nerves, and the back- 
ward movement of my own damaged extremity into a situa- 
tion of greater safety, are as much mental as the feeling of 
pain which I experience concomitantly. It is true that I re- 
gard the former as somehow outside of me, and the pain only 
inside of me — that other people can see the foot, etc., but 
cannot feel my pain — ^but this is merely the result of habit. 

410 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

or of our constitution. We cannot give a philosophical rea- 
son for thus dichotomising the unity of our experience. It 
is an arbitrary distinction. All physical facts are in the last 
resort mental — ^at least in so far as they are, or can be, known 
to us. And even if the parallelist demurs to such a sweeping 
statement; if he affirms that there is something in physical 
facts which is not mental, the addition of which unknown 
something differentiates these facts from the purely mental; 
he still cannot deny that in every physical fact there is at 
least a mental element more or less, for without such element 
the fact would not be a fact to us at all. And if he admits 
this, the distinctness of the parallel chains is destroyed. The 
physical and the psychical have merged, and we cannot dis- 
entangle them. The doctrine of psycho-physical parallelism 
is, then, not a philosophical doctrine at all. The distinction 
between the two chains of facts is purely arbitrary, like the 
distinction between physics and chemistry; it is useful as 
facilitating psychological and physiological study, in the 
same way as the distinction between physics and chemistry; 
both consider the same objects to a great extent, but they 
consider different aspects of those objects. And to this end it 
is useful to make arbitrary distinctions, excluding irrelevant 
aspects, narrowing the area of observation, and making ab- 
straction of the desired elements. But we must not allow 
ourselves to be deceived into thinking that we are explaining 
ultimates in so doing. Chemistry and physics do not explain 
the ultimate nature of matter; still less, if possible, does the 
doctrine of psycho-physical parallelism explain psychical and 
physical phenomena. It is simply a mode of abstraction, for 
purposes of study; it does not explain anything. And one 
cannot help thinking that if Dr. Binet, after pushing his in- 
quiries to the last verge, had rested there while he asked 
himself what postulates seemed necessary, proof of anything 
being unavailable (instead of falling back on " practical ne- 
cessities " in such a hurry), he would have renounced the 
parallelist doctrine, however " purified." For indeed, his 
own arguments suffice not only to " scotch " — which he ad- 
mitted — but also to kill it. 

And where, we may now ask, is the root-error, the radical 

Soul and Body. 411 

vice, of this mode of thought ? We seem to have assisted at 
the execution, successively, of Matter, Mind, and even ma- 
terial and mental phenomena. There is nothing left. The 
universe has been reduced not only to Chaos, but to Nonen- 
tity. And this is absurd, not only to the plain man, but also 
to the philosopher. Where, then, is the flaw ? The answer 
is — in the reftisal to postulate a Self. Without postulating a 
Self, a Subject, philosophy is impossible. We cannot prove 
our own experience, for to prove something is to support it 
with something that is better known ; and nothing is better 
known to us than ourselves, our own existence. This, there- 
fore,is incapable of proof. It is given in our own experience. It 
is a matter of immediate knowledge. In all inquiry, we must 
start out from the postulate of the reality of the Self. It 
must be the basis of any system. The world must be inter- 
preted on the basis and analogy of our own existence. And 
even those who try to deny the reality of the Self, do not 
succeed in their attempt to do without it ; for the denial is an 
act, an act implies an actor, and an actor, in order to act, 
must first be. In fact, language cannot be used without im- 
plying the self's existence ; for Thought cannot exist without 
a Thinker, and language is crystallized thought. When Dr. 
Binet says that " the mind is the act of consciousness ; it is 
not a subject which has consciousness," (p. 264) he is chang- 
ing the terminology, but is not getting rid of the thing. The 
mind may be nothing but an act; but if so, who or what is 
the actor.? There cannot be an act without an actor; and, 
accordingly. Dr. Binet brings back the notion of mind under 
the name of consciousness. It is possible to juggle thus 
with language to an indefinite extent; but we cannot get 
behind the reality of the self. It is quite true that there can 
be no object without subject, and no subject without object ; 
they are correlative terms. But the total Being which I call 
myself, and which I know only partially, may be above the 
subject-object relation. There can be no husbands without 
wives, and no wives without husbands; the terms are cor- 
relative, like subject and object. But men and women may 
and do exist who are neither husbands nor wives. The sub- 
ject-object aspect covers experience as we know it (as the 

412 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

husband-wife aspect would cover humanity if all men and 
women were married) but it does not follow that this aspect 
covers all existence, or that it is the highest possible aspect 
in which existence can be regarded. But for our present ex- 
perience the subject-object aspect is certainly the highest — 
or the most fundamental, shall we say — ^which we can attain 
to. Postulating the reality of the Self, the universe of ex- 
perience falls into order. Knowledge comes to the self by 
its interaction with Matter — ^we must bear in mind that the 
distinction between the self and phenomenal matter is log- 
ical, not real — and by its interaction with other Selves or 
Minds. The ultimate reality which interacts with us, edu- 
cating us, spiritualizing us, is God. The world-process is a 
process of education, of which we can as yet see the End only 
dimly. There is no reason to suppose, and every reason to 
doubt, that at death the self, which manifested through that 
portion of matter which we call the body, is annihilated. Its 
experience may well enough continue, in other forms. We 
have seen that matter cannot be said to produce conscious- 
ness, though in our present experience it seems to be inevi- 
tably linked therewith; consequently, the consciousness 
which we inferred as manifesting through our friend's 
" body " need not have ceased to exist when that body 
becomes what we call dead. I can conceive my own 
consciousness continuing to exist after my body's destruc- 
tion; I certainly cannot conceive myself existing other- 
wise than as a subject, but it is not necessary to try. My 
experience may be of objects, as it is now; but those objects 
may be different. I may have a body of some other kind 
through which to function. Anyhow, I do not feel so com- 
pletely at home in the coarse "vesture of decay" which I 
now inhabit » as to have any difficulty in imagining myself as 
tenant of a different and better one. And the whole trend 
of evolution as known to us in our present experience is 
strongly in favor of some such notion, even if we leave aside 
•tual evidence which exists for the hypothesis of sur- 
1 a word, the postulates of God and a future life 
e satisfactory, and more philosophically justifiable, 
baiting agnosticism of the doctrine of psycho-phy- 

spirit Slate-Writing and Billet Tests. 413 

sical parallelism. For, as we have remarked, this doctrine 
has for its logical terminus the abysses of philosophical scep- 
ticism — which is much more than religious scepticism — and 
utter, despairing pessimism. The mind that halts in this ag- 
nosticism can only do so by refusing to follow out its prem- 
ises to the conclusions which are involved. It must decide 
that the best thing to do is just to rub along without think- 
ing, making the best of a bad job. "Travaillons sans raison- 
ner," said Voltaire, "c'est le seul nwyen de rendre la vie support- 

But though we may have the misfortune to differ from 
Dr. Binet on the points specified, this will by no means blind 
us to the merits of the book under discussion. Its sincerity 
of purpose, its lucid argument, its dispassionate and undog- 
matic style — pure light without heat — are sufficient passport 
to the goodwill of every earnest student; and the sincere 
hope may be expressed that this translation will be read very 
widely by the large public to which this useful series makes 
its appeal. 

Wensley Bank, Thornton, 
Bradford, England. 


By David P. Abbott. 


[All Rights Reserved.] 


I shall next describe a slate trick sold by certain dealers. It 
is a very excellent trick and is used by many of the very best 
performers of the present day. I know a professional medium 
using it very successfully. I happened to meet him ; and in the 
course of certain discussions over trickery resorted to by certain 
mediums, I made mention of this trick, and even performed it for 
him, afterwards explaining it to him. I soon heard of his per- 
forming a slate test which answers the description of this one, 
and with which he was so successful that he received almost a 
column notice in the " Progressive Thinker " of May 26th, 1906. 
I may incidentally mention that prior to my discussion of the 

414 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

subject with him, he gave no slate writing tests. In fact, when 
I first met him, he made no claims to mediumistic powers, but 
merely acted as manager for his wife who was a medium. I 
also happened to explain a billet test to him, wherein the spec- 
tators write questions on thin cards, addressing them to spirits 
and then sealing them in envelopes. They are taken to the 
operator, who is placed with them under a large cloth cover and 
enveloped in perfect darkness. The operator reads them* by 
holding a small electric flash light behind the envelopes in the 
darkness. The envelopes are rendered transparent in this man- 
ner, and the writing can be easily read. 

I soon thereafter heard of his working this trick in a public 
hall, going into a trance, lying on a table, being covered with a 
large drape and in absolute darkness. The billets were placed 
under the cover with him, and he gave the tests, handing out 
each envelope unopened as he answered the question it con- 
tained. The audience was greatly impressed with this seance. 
I shall now describe the slate trick. 

The performer enters with three slates. The subject is seated 
in a chair but the operator or medium remains standing. The 
operator now lays the three slates on a table close at hand. 
He picks up the top slate, which is free of all writing, and washes 
and dries it on both sides; then holding it to the eyes of the 
subject, asks him if the slate is perfectly clean, exhibiting both 
sides to his view. It is a fact so evident that the subject thinks 
everything honest, and, in fact, does not look for trickery. 

The operator now asks the subject to take this slate in his 
right hand and hold it. This the subject does, and is of course 
at liberty to thoroughly examine the slate, which for that rea- 
son he seldom does. If he should do so there is no harm done, 
for the slate is without preparation. 

The operator then takes the next slate from the table, cleans 
and exhibits it in the same manner, and finally requests the sub- 
ject to hold this slate in his left hand. This the subject does. 
The operator now takes up the remaining slate and thoroughly 
cleans and exhibits both sides of it to the spectator. Then tak- 
ing two of the slates, he places two sides of them together right 
under the eyes of the sitter, calling his attention to the fact that 
no writing is on either. 

The operator now ties the two slates together and gives them 
to the subject to hold in his lap, and asks the subject to place his 
handkerchief on them. Next the operator takes a silk foulard or 
ordinary mufHer, and asks the subject to wrap the remaining 
slate in this, to place it on top of the other two slates, and to 
place his hands on the same. This is done and the operator 
takes care thereafter, in no way to go near or touch the slates. 
Meanwhile he talks on the proper subject for a time, and then 

Sfnrit Slate-Wrtting and Bilkt Tests. 415 

directs the subject to open and examine the slates. When the 
subject does so, he finds a long spirit message completely cover- 
ing one side of one of the slates. 

If in any manner it has been possible for the operator to have 
previously become acquainted with any of the history of the sub- 
ject, this message may be from a departed friend or relative, in 
which case the effect on the subject is very great. 

What are the moves that escape the notice of the subject? 
In what way has the operator accomplished this illusion? First 
there are certain moves that escape the notice of the subject, 
and are forgotten simply because they are accomplished in a 
perfectly natural manner. Also there is a secret about one of 
the slates. It is of the style known as a " flap slate." Such a 
slate is an ordinary one, except there is a loose piece of slate 
called a " flap " which fits neatly into the frame of the slate. 
When the flap is in position the slate appears to the sight as an 
ordinary slate, and any message written on the surface of the 
slate proper under this flap, can not be seen. The flap fits loosely 
enough that if the slate be turned over it will fall out and expose 
the concealed message. There are many trick slates, but the 
" flap slate " is the best, and the one most generally used. It 
can be used in a number of diflFerent ways. 

This slate, with the message prepared upon it and signed, 
and the flap in position over it, is situated at the bottom of the 
three slates. The performer places these three slates on a small 
table or chair when he enters as stated at first. He cleans and 
exhibits the first two slates and gives them to the subject to hold 
as already described. Now he next cleans and exhibits the third 
slate, using care to grasp it with his fingers so that the flap does 
not drop out. He turns both sides of it to the subject for in- 
spection who, after having so thoroughly examined the others, 
is by this time tired of the repetition of such close examination 
where nothing can be discovered, and is therefore more ready to 
look and be satisfied. 

The performer now takes from the subject's hand one of the 
other slates and places it on top of the slate in his own hand. It 
must be remembered that the slate in the operator's hand is flap 
side up and in a horizontal position. He places the side edge 
of the unprepared slate on the side edge of the flap slate, one 
being" at right angles to the other, and then he calls attention 
to the fact that there is no writing between the two slates. He 
next closes the slates. 

Now here comes the natural move that escapes the subject 
and is forgotten afterwards. The operator appears to be exam- 
ining- the edges of the two slates to see if they fit neatly; and in 
doing so he looks toward the window or other light, and holds 
the two slates to this light edgewise as if he were peering be- 

416 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

tween them to see if they fit. As he brings up the slates to peer 
through them he merely turns them forward and over towards 
his eyes and peers through. 

This move attracts less attention, if the operator first tilts the 
right edge of the slates downward, and apparently inspects the 
left edge of them as if looking to see if they fit neatly. He should 
then immediately bring them to a horizontal position, tilt up the 
end furtherest from himself, inspect it an instant and then ele- 
vate the lower ends towards a window or light and peer through. 
In this manner the moves seem natural, and if executed rapidly 
attract no notice. 

This turn of course brings the flap slate to the top and the 
flap falls from it quietly into the unprepared slate. As the per- 
former looks through these slates he remarks that they do not 
seem to fit properly ; and, suiting his action to the word, he low- 
ers his hands with the slates to the table, leaving the lower or 
unprepared slate, now containing the flap, on the table. Remark- 
ing, ** Let me try that one," he takes the remaining slate from the 
subject, quickly placing his slate on top of it. As he does all 
this he, of course, does not expose the lower side of the slate in 
his hands to the view of the subject, because it contains the mes- 
sage. He holds this slate slightly tilted so that the message 
side is away from the subject. 

As he takes this second slate from the subject, he places his 
slate on top of it and peers through between them quickly, re- 
marking that they fit better ; and then taking a long piece of tape 
he quickly ties and binds these two slates. He now places them 
on the subject's lap. Taking a small piece of chalk or slate 
pencil which he has apparently forgotten, he slips the top slate 
at one corner slightly to one side, and drops the chalk into the 
lower slate, slipping the top one back into position. He now 
asks the subject to place his handkerchief over the slates and his 
hands on the same. This employs him and keeps his attention 
from the third slate on the table which now contains the dis- 
carded flap. This slate appears to the eyes as merely an ordi- 
nary one, although it contains this flap. 

The operator next picks up this third slate, and apparently 
looking for something, asks the subject, "Where did I place the 
silk muffler?" As there was no silk muffler brought out, this 
surprises the subject and takes his attention; the operator then 
remarks, " I guess I forgot it," and steps through the folding 
doors to get it. He of course carries the third slate, with the flap in 
it, with him. When out of sight he drops the Aap into a drawer, 
and quickly returning with the silk muffler and third slate, starts 
to wrap up this slate; but changing his mind he requests the 
subject to wrap it up, place it on top of the others, and then to 
place his palms on the same. This gives the subject ample 

spirit State-lVrMng and Billet Tests. 417 

opportunity to examine this third slate, and he soon forgets that 
the operator carried it out of the room for an instant. Of course 
the message will be found on the top slate of the two that were 
tied together, and the others never have anything on them. 

By this time the subject has forgotten the little move where 
the operator laid down one slate on the table, and took the other 
tTom him, tying them together. 

As I perform this trick, I usually perform it for a company 
as a conjuring trick. I cause a selected word and its definition 
in a dictionary held by a spectator, to appear on the slate in 
chalk writing. 

The manner in which I force the selection of the proper word 
is this: I first bring from a table in the adjoining parlor a pack 
of cards which resemble playing cards on their backs, but on 
the face of each they have only different printed numbers. I ex- 
hibit these and return them to the table. 

As I do this I of course exchange them for another pack made 
up of cards bearing only two numbers ; that is, half of the cards 
bear one number, and half of them another number. Let us 
suppose these numbers are 38 and 42. I arrange the pack pre- 
rious to the trick with these two numbers alternately, so that if 
the pack be cut or separated at any point, the next two cards will 
be cards bearing the numbers 38 and 42. I leave this pack in 
view on the table, and the spectators think it the pack they 
have just examined. 

I now return with a velvet bag on the end of a stick or 
long handle, and ask some one to take from this bag a number 
of small wooden discs, and to read and call off the numbers 
printed on each and then to return them to the bag. This is 
done, and each is seen to bear a different number. Now reach- 
ing this bag to some one else, I request him to draw a single disc 
from this bag and retain the same, but not to look at it. This 
is done and he of course draws one with the number on it that I 
desire, for the reason that the bag on the end of the stick is 
double ; that is, it has a partition in it forming two compartments. 
The stick or handle is of japanned tin, and is hollow, con- 
taining- a piston operated by a spring from a window curtain 
roller. This piston is a wire, and it extends beyond the handle, 
through a seam in the top of the cloth partition in the bag; and 
this part is bent in a half circle, the same as the sides of the 
upper edge of the bag. 

When I bring on the bag, I have the partition on one side, 
so that the compartment containing the discs made up of differ- 
ent numbers is open. After a spectator examines a handful of 
discs, returning them, I release the pressure I am exerting on 
the rear end of the handle, allowing the piston to revolve ; and 
it thus opens the compartment wherein all the discs are of a 

418 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 

single number, and at the same time closes the other compart- 
ment. The person drawing the disc can only draw the number 
desired, as all the discs in this compartment bear the same 

This number indicates the number of the correct word on 
the page. I next bring forward the pack of substituted number 
cards, and asking. some spectator to cut them, I next ask him 
to select the two left on top. I return the others to a drawer, 
and ask him to add up the two numbers on the selected cards 
and give the result. This sum indicates which page in the dic- 
tionary the third spectator, who holds it, shall select. The para- 
phernalia for this trick can be obtained from any of the conjuring 

I shall here describe how to prepare the slates for this experi- 
ment. I go to a store with a good supply of slates, take a 
piece of stiff pasteboard and cut it to fit nicely into the bevel of 
the frame of some good slate which I wish to use. I then try this 
pasteboard flap in other slates until I find one in which this flap 
fits nicely on either side of the slate. I lay this one aside for my 
purpose and select another, making three that have frames which 
are uniform in size on both sides, and which are all the same in 
size, measuring within the bevel of the frames. These frames 
should also be perfectly square at the corners inside the bevel. 
As the slates in stock vary in size, this careful selection is neces- 
sary. I use slates seven by nine inches inside the bevel for this 
trick, which is the most suitable size. I also select slates with 
true or level surfaces. 

I next select a slate with a true surface, but as thin as possi- 
ble. I use the slate in this to make the loose slate flap. I mark 
the slate portion around next the frame with a knife, then saw 
away the frame. I next take a saw such as is used in sawing 
metal, and saw away the edges of the flap at the mark I have 
made. I now try this flap in one of the slates : and if it be too 
tight, I remedy by use of a file. I also bevel the edges of this 
flap for half an inch, so that when it is placed in the frame of one 
of the slates, the slate will appear nearly natural by showing 
some of the bevel of the frame on that side. 

It is quite necessary to select slates with as deep a bevel 
to the frames as possible ; and if the flap be too thick, it is neces- 
sary to grind it thinner with a stone, and then smooth it up with 
a smooth stone or a block and some fine powder. 

I prefer padded slates, but select those on which the cloth 
binding is not too wide; as I desire the slates to rest closely 
together when I turn them, so that the flap will not have far 
to fall ; and so it will be more certain to fall within the frame 
of the lower slate. 

spirit Slate-Writing and Billet Tests. 419 


I shall here describe another trick, where only a double or 
hinged slate is used. I will give both the explanation and effect 
together. I select for this a double or hinged slate, size five by 
seven, and prepare a flap to fit in one side of one of the slates. 
It makes no difference whether it fits any of the other sides or 
not. I bevel this flap on one side only, as but one side of it ever 
shows. I paste a sheet of newspaper on the side that is not 
beveled. This must be trimmed off very accurately and well 
glued to the flap with library paste. 

I prepare the message with a soapstone pencil or a piece of 
chalk, and cover it with the flap. The slate now appears per- 
fectly natural. I seat my subject at a table on which is scat- 
tered some newspapers. The table should be large enough for 
these papers to be in two piles. One of the piles usually has 
only one paper in it which is opened out on the table. This is 
farthest from the sitter. The other papers are directly in 
front of him. 

The message is on the outside of one of the two slates making 
the double slate, with the flap over the message, so that it appears 
as an ordinary slate. I grasp this slate in my left hand with 
my fingers on the flap side, and my thumb on the opposite side. 
The hinged edge of the slates is the edge that is in my hand. I 
hold the back of my left hand facing the sitter, who is at my 
right hand, seated at the table. 

I exhibit this flap side of the slate to him, calling his atten- 
tion to the fact that it is free from writing. I also rub a dry 
handkerchief over it as if making this fact doubly sure. I in- 
stantly turn my hand exhibiting the other side to his view, and 
likewise calling his attention to the fact of its freedom from writ- 
ing. I now lay the slate flat on the newspaper under my left 
hand flap side down, just as I am holding it. As I do this I 
slightly pull up my sleeves as if they annoy me, and as if this 
were why I have just laid the slate down. Of course, when the 
slate is laid down in this position, the flap drops instantly on the 
newspaper; and afterwards, when the slate is lifted up, it re- 
mains on the paper. It will not be noticed at all, having the 
sheet of paper pasted to its upper surface, if the attention of the 
subject is not directed to this paper, but is kept instead on the 
slate as it is being handled. 

I instantly remark, " Of course, you desire to see the inside 
of these slates also;" and suiting the action to the word, I care- 
lessly lift the upper slate with my left hand grasping it by the 
edg'e nearest the spectator. This is the edge opposite the cloth 
hinge ; so that as I lift this edge up, the slates assume a vertical 
position, opening out and hanging suspended below my hand. 

420 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 

The inside of the two slates are thus exposed to the view of the 
subject, and are seen to be free from writing. I take my right 
hand and quickly grasp the lower slate, closing it up under the 
upper one, which at the same time I lower to a horizontal posi- 

This folds the two slates together or closes them, by folding 
in the direction away from the sitter; so that what were before 
the inside surfaces of the slates are now the outside, and the 
hinged edge now faces the subject. The message is now in- 
side the slates on the upper surface of the lower one. 

I now grasp both slates with my left hand, and I take a rubber 
band from my pocket with my right hand and quickly snap it 
around them. I give the slate to the spectator and say, " Place 
them on the table with your palms on them — I will remove these 
papers which are in the way.*' As I say this I lift the pile of 
papers from in front of him ; and as he places the slate on the 
table. I place these papers on top of the other paper on which 
rests the invisible flap. I lift this paper up now with the others, 
and take them all containing the discarded flap, and quickly re- 
move them from view. 

Meanwhile I instruct the sitter how to hold his palms, and I 
instantly return and direct the seance. In due time he finds the 
message. This trick is excellent if worked carefully and not 
too slowly. If used in the daylight, too strong a light should 
be avoided ; although I have no trouble anywhere, because I al- 
ways keep absolute control of the subject's attention, which is 
the most vital part of any trick. 


I shall next describe a trick known to the " profession " as 
" Independent Paper Writing." A number of small tablets of 
scratch paper are brought out. The size that I generally use 
is about four by five inches. The subject is requested to select 
a sheet of paper from any of the tablets, which he does. Mean- 
while the operator brings to the table two slates about the size 
of seven by nine inches inside measure. 

The operator requests the subject to place his sheet of paper 
on one of the slates, which he does. There is no writing on the 
slates, which fact the subject can see. The other slate is now 
placed on top of the one with the sheet of blank paper. The 
edges of the slates are made even, and the slates held for a time 
on the head of the medium in view of the sitter. In due time 
the slates are separated and the paper is found to be covered 
with a message on both sides. The writing is in pencil or ink, 
according to the pleasure of the operator. 

If the subject has previously been induced to write his ques- 

spirit Slate-Writing and Billet Tests, 421 

tions and retain the same, this message answers them in detail 
and is signed by the name of the spirit to whom they were 

There are many means of securing knowledge of questions 
written secretly. Some of the best I am unable to give in this 
article, as I am under a contract with the dealer from whom I 
purchased the same to maintain secrecy in regard to the method. 
Farther on, however, I shall give a method which is most gen- 
erally used by professional mediums all over the country. In 
fact, most of the mediums that I have met, use it, to my certain 

I shall now explain the slate part of the " Independent Paper 
Writing." The slates are selected from bound slates, just as 
the three slates were selected for the first ** flap slate " trick. 
One of these contains a flap but it is not a slate flap. It is 
what is known as a " silicate slate flap." These are very light 
and about as thick as pasteboard. Procured from some dealers 
they are a little too dark to exactly match the slate in color, but 
I have generally been able to procure exactly the proper shade 
from George L. Williams & Co., 7145 Champlain Avenue, Chi- 
cago, Illinois. 

In the prepared slate which I lay upon the table, and upon 
which the subject is to place the blank sheet of paper, in a similar 
sheet of paper under the flap. The message is, of course, written 
on this paper in advance. As the flap is over it, nothing can be 
seen and the slate appears merely as an ordinary one. Most 
generally I take the sheet of paper from my subject with the tips 
of my fingers and place it on this slate. I then lay the other 
slate, which I exhibit to the spectator, on top of this one. I even 
up the edges, and then grasp the two slates by their edges 
tightly and bring them on top of my head for a time. This move 
naturally turns the slates over, and of course the flap drops 
quietly into the lower slate. Meanwhile I address the subject 
in the proper manner ; and when I take the slates down, lowering 
them to the table, I leave the slate that is next my head under- 
neath the other one. I lift oflf the top slate and hand the subject 
the slip of paper, which he sees at the first glance is covered 
with writing. The effect is very great. 

The subject immediately begins to read the message with 
such interest, that I have ample opportunity to take the slate 
containing the flap in my left hand, and while the subjiect reads 
the message aloud (which I direct him to do), I step through 
a door to a drawer to get some article ; and, of course, I drop 
the flap and concealed slip of blank paper into the drawer, but 
keep the slate still in my hand as I return to the subject I then 
lay this slate on the table while I insnect the message. 

This is really one of the most effective of tricks and is very 

422 Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 

easy to perform. The operator should select slates that are 
well matched and should procure a " flap " of the desired color. 
The flaps are very cheap. 

Sometimes I tear a corner from a slip of paper containing 
the message. When I do this I conceal it between the ends of 
my fingers; and when the subject gives me his selected sheet of 
paper, I tear a similar corner from it. I apparently hand this 
last corner to the subject with the request that he retain it. Of 
course, I give him the comer torn from the message slip instead, 
and conceal the last corner torn off in its place. 

After the message is produced and read, I remind the subject 
to see if this corner fits his slip of paper. Worked as a conjur- 
ing trick, this last effect adds some improvement to the trick ; but 
I am not so sure that it adds to the effect if given as a genuine 
phenomena ; for tearing off the corner reminds one of conjuring 
tricks, and thus suggests the idea of trickery. 

However, I generally tear off this small corner so that on 
one side of it, there is a portion of one of the words of the mes- 
sage. In this case, instead of giving this corner to the subject 
to hold, I lay it on the table writing side down, and request him 
to place his finger on it. Finding a part of one of the words 
on this corner gives the idea that this writing was done while he 
held it. This adds more mystery to the effect. 


The trick described here is most suitable for platform pro- 
duction. The performer takes a single slate in his hand and 
a piece of chalk in the other hand. He exhibits one side of the 
slate to the audience, saying, " Side one." As he does this he 
makes a large figure " one " on that side of the slate. He then 
turns the slate ; and saying, " Side two," makes a large figure 
" two " on that side of the slate. He next steps to a chair or 
table, and taking a damp cloth, washes off first one side and 
then the other. He immediately sets the slate in full view of 
the spectators in a vertical position, so that one side faces the 
spectators and the other side is of course hidden from view. He 
leans it against any object that may be convenient, usually 
against a chair or table leg with one edge resting on the floor. In 
a short time he lifts the slate, exhibiting the rear surface on 
which is written a message in chalk writing. 

The secret of this trick is again a slate flap. The message is 
prepared and the flap in place. The performer grasps the slate 
so as to hold the flap in position, and exhibits and marks the 
two sides of the slate. He now steps to a table or chair to get 
a piece of damp cloth ; and as he washes " side one " of the slate, 
he rests the lower edge of the slate on the table or chair. As he 

spirit Slaie-Writing and Billet Tests. 423 

does this he tilts the slate backwards slightly. He next turns 
the slate so that "side two'' faces the audience; and as he 
washes this side, he releases his hold on the flap on the rear 
of the slate, and allows it to drop on the table or chair. 

If a chair «be used, a newspaper is in place spread out on its 
seat; and a piece of newspaper is also pasted on what will be 
the upper side of the flap, after it be dropped on the newspaper. 
If instead of a chair a table be used, and if it h